An app providing information on sexual health has been banned from the Google Play app store for gratuitous content – despite being developed in conjunction with NHS Tayside.
Men Only Tayside (MOT) was created by Faff Digital to provide gay and bisexual men with information and advice on sexually transmitted diseases.
It tells users where they can get tested for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and where they can find treatment.
The app complements NHS Tayside’s Men Only Tayside website.
John-Paul Thain said he believed Google Play had relied on automated process to approve or reject the app and that their error could result in his business suffering.
He told The Courier: “I submitted the app to Apple last week because their process takes longer and there was no problem.
“But when I submitted it to Google Play I got a message saying it had been suspended and that it had been refused because of gratuitous sexual content as if it was pornography.”
Undeterred John-Paul appealed the decision but was soon told the original decision was being upheld.
“Within an hour I got a response saying they would not respond to any more emails regarding the app” he said.
“It just seems like Apple actually has people looking at these but with Google Play it is just totally automated.
“The ridiculous thing is the same app but for tablets got accepted, no problem.”
Eventually John-Paul was able to get the mobile version of the app on Google Play, but only by raising the maturity level of the app, which John-Paul fears will limit its popularity and therefore its effectiveness.
“I took a chance submitting it again,” he said. “If my account had been suspended then I could end up losing half my income.”
Although John-Paul thought raising the maturity levels had finally solved the problem, he was shocked to discover both apps were then removed from Google Play on Thursday.
“I have no way to fight this despite the app being an NHS Tayside endorsed sexual health information app,” said John-Paul.
Google were asked to comment but have not yet responded.