Google has made major updates to its Play Store policies in a bid to make Android's app ecosystem just a little bit more friendly to children. In so doing, it has introduced expanded definitions of prohibited content, including sexually explicit characteristics and hate speech.
We've already covered the major changes regarding kids apps and marijuana apps, but there are other, smaller additions and subtractions to the text of other policies in Google's Developer Distribution Agreement. A selection of the edits follows:
The company has expanded its prohibition against apps displaying sexually explicit content to simply "sexual content," which also covers "sex-related entertainment." In terms of the content itself, the company has gone beyond examples of "sex acts," "sexually suggestive poses," and "promotional images of sex toys" to cover the following:
- Depictions of nudity in which the subject is nude or minimally clothed, and where the clothing would not be acceptable in an appropriate public context.
- Depictions, animations or illustrations of sex acts or sexually suggestive poses.
- Content that depicts sexual aids and fetishes.
- Content that is lewd or profane.
User-generated content on these apps are also subject to these guidelines. Apps must also not monetize features that encourage objectionable user behavior and "principally encourage" the sharing of objectionable sexual content.
Google has kept the definition of hate speech, which it prohibits in apps, the same, but has built a list of common hate speech violations. They include:
- Compilations of assertions intended to prove that a protected group is inhuman, inferior or worthy of being hated.
- Apps that contain theories about a protected group possessing negative characteristics (e.g. malicious, corrupt, evil, etc.), or explicitly or implicitly claims the group is a threat.
- Content or speech trying to encourage others to believe that people should be hated or discriminated against because they are a member of a protected group.
It seems that the company is cracking down on conspiracies in addition to ad hominem character attacks.
Games publishers that offer lotteries for in-game items such as loot boxes must now "clearly disclose the odds of receiving those items in advance of purchase." Congress has been working on legislation regulating loot boxes in a similar fashion.
In a related thread, Google has updated its ban on gambling where rewards were previously referred to "prizes of cash or other value" are now "prizes of cash or other real world value" — seemingly padding the validity of loot boxes.
Google has written new rules explicitly banning apps that facilitate or promote the sale of counterfeit goods. Users can submit counterfeiting reports with the form at this link.
The company has also cited violation examples for its "Minimum functionality" requirements, including:
Status symbol apps that are designed to do nothing or have no function
You can examine all the changes at the links below.