- Apple on Saturday removed Unjected, a dating app for the unvaccinated, from its App Store.
- Apple told the app it “inappropriately refers to the COVID-19 pandemic in its concept or theme.”
- Unjected said on Instagram that the app offered medical autonomy and freedom of choice.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Apple on Saturday removed Unjected, a dating-and-community app for unvaccinated people, from its App Store, in a move that the app’s owners likened to censorship.
“Apparently, we’re considered ‘too much’ for sharing our medical autonomy and freedom of choice,” Shelby Thomson, Unjected’s founder, said in a video posted on Instagram on Saturday. “So, of course, Apple removed us.”
The app violated Apple’s policies for COVID-19 content, an Apple spokesperson told Insider on Saturday. The company cited published interviews in which Unjected’s founders said their app was for “likeminded unvaccinated individuals.”
Unjected previously had been rejected from the App Store, but Apple reinstated it after updates, the tech giant said.
The founders then asked Unjected users to avoid anti-vaccination buzzwords words, including “jabbed” and “microchip.” By trying to trick Apple’s reviewers, the app again violated App Store policies, the Apple spokesperson said.
Bloomberg News on Saturday reported that Apple removed the app after being contacted by a reporter.
Unjected posted a screenshot of the Bloomberg News story, saying: “We must use our voices. We are fighting the censorship of our freedoms and we won’t stop.”
Unjected launched in May as a dating app – one Twitter user called it “OK Q-Pid” – but had recently rolled out additional features. One was a list of businesses that “respect our autonomy and promote freedom.”
The company posted a screenshot of Apple’s take-down message, which read in part: “Specifically, your social networking app inappropriately refers to the COVID-19 pandemic in its concept or theme.”
Apple’s policies require COVID-19 health and safety information to come from recognized sources, including governments, “deeply credentialed” companies, and non-governmental organizations focused on health, the Apple spokesperson said.
Unjected said on Instagram, where it has about 25,000 followers, that it had deleted features, including a social feed and “blood bank,” in an attempt to stay on the App Store.
“We are looking into ways to get off of Apple and Google,” the company said. “But the easiest transition for us might be to make the website as great as possible since they can’t shut that down like the app.”
Unjusted had been downloaded about 18,000 times, Thomson said in an email to Insider on Sunday.
“We have an appeal to Apple – however we don’t expect they will even return our request,” she said.
The app on Sunday was still available on the Google Play store, where users mostly gave it middling reviews, including: “Amazing concept but holy $%^& this app is practically unusable.”