Apple is working in 152 countries to ban apps about and for the LGBTI community by banning them from the App Store. This is reported by an American and Chinese organization that are committed to a free internet after their own investigation. They say Apple is helping homophobic countries suppress rights for LGBT people and that this is jeopardizing them.
The banned apps include dating apps for LGBT people or apps that provide information about the LGBTI communities in certain countries. According to the researchers, the most blocked apps are weBelong (144 countries), Hinge (135), Qutie (115), Adam4Adam (80) and Trans (77).
The three most popular apps from the US App Store – dating apps Grindr, Taimi and OkCupid – have been banned from the App Store in more than 20 countries.
Apple helps governments isolate, silence and oppress LGBT people
Saudi Arabia and China lead the way with 28 and 27 banned LGBTI apps, the researchers report. Two apps are not available in the Dutch App Store: weBelong, with information about local LGBTI communities, and chat and dating app Blued.
Apple Netherlands has not yet responded to questions from the NOS about the lack of these apps and the results of the investigation.
Most homophobic countries
According to the organizations – the American Fight for the Future and GreatFire from China – the countries where most LGBTI apps are blocked largely correspond to countries where gay rights are violated the most.
“Apple makes a good splash with rainbow flags in commercials,” said Evan Sheer of Fight for the Future. “But in the meantime, they are helping governments around the world isolate, silence and suppress LGBT people.”
According to her, facilitating the apps block has a lot of impact because Apple makes it virtually impossible to download apps outside the App Store.
Life or death
A researcher from the American organization says that LGBTI people are at risk because of the blockade. “For many, it’s a matter of life or death as they find community and safety through these apps.”
Benjamin Ismail of GreatFire calls the results of the investigation “scathing.” According to him, the LGBT-friendly story that Apple is putting out is nothing more than an attempt to polish its image.