Apple is facing criticism for removing LGBTQ+ applications from the App Store in 152 countries around the world.
A new joint study from US-based advocacy group Fight for the Future and China-based GreatFire, which tracks censorship in China, details that Apple’s decisions in these countries “enables government censorship of LGBTQ+ content”.
The new findings reveal that Apple has been enabling government censorship of LGBTQ+ content, most directly 1,377 documented cases of app access restrictions, in 152 App Stores around the world, reports 9To5Mac.
Moreover, at least 50 LGBTQ+ apps, including the majority of the most popular ones, are currently unavailable in one or more App Stores.
Most of the App Stores where the most number of apps are blocked, coincide with countries already low on the list for human rights for the queer community.
Underscoring Apple’s role in enabling this censorship is cases such as Malaysia, whose government criminalises homosexuality but where only 7 LGBTQ+ apps are removed from its App Store; or Niger and South Korea, whose governments have legal ised homosexuality, but whose App Stores are within the top 10 with most unavailable LGBTQ+ apps.
Among the findings in the study is that the App Store in China has removed 27 LGBTQ+-related applications, either at the request of the Chinese government or preemptively.
Saudi Arabia is the App Store with the most LGBTQ+-related applications unavailable, missing 28 apps.