A conversion therapy app that was developed by the Malaysian government has been removed from the Google Play store after it was found to be in breach of Google’s guidelines according to The Guadian.
Released in July 2016, the app named Hijrah Diri-Homoseksualiti was designed to help the LGBTQ+ community “return to nature” and was initially shared on the Malaysian government’s Twitter account by the Islamic development department. The app claimed it would enabled LGBTQ+ individuals to return to a state of “purity” or “nature”, accompanied by an eBoook detailing the experience of an anonymous gay man who “abandoned homosexual behavior” and sexual urges during the Ramadan.
Google investigates apps that are flagged to ensure they are not in violation of their Play store policies.
Google’s Deceptive Behavior policy includes the following:
We don’t allow apps that attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behavior including but not limited to apps which are determined to be functionally impossible. Apps must provide an accurate disclosure, description and images/video of their functionality in all parts of the metadata. Apps must not attempt to mimic functionality or warnings from the operating system or other apps. Any changes to device settings must be made with the user’s knowledge and consent and be reversible by the user.
Malaysia’s LGBTQ+ laws currently ban same-sex relations and non-normative gender expression.
The Google Play store has previously removed other apps for similar reasons. In 2019, an app was removed from a US-based group, Living Hope Ministries, promoted conversion therapy. The app suggested that users could “pray the gay away”.
Source: The Guadian, Twitter