The claim: Grindr banned from Apple's App Store
A viral meme is claiming a popular LGBTQ+ dating app has been banned by Apple.
"Apple banned Grindr from the App Store," reads the first section of a graphic shared to Facebook on Sept. 26.
The meme also mentions Texas' new laws banning most abortions and adult workers under age 21 from working in strip clubs, as well as eBay banning the sale of erotica. These recent prohibitions are collectively referred to as signs that, "We are descending into a Christian dystopia and y'all don't want to see it. They won't stop."
Included below the text, which is identical to a June 13 tweet that went viral on Twitter, is an altered version of a comic by political cartoonist Gary Varvel showing the calendar flipping back to 1984, a reference to the George Orwell novel used to criticize censorship.
One problem though: Apple never banned Grindr.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook and Twitter users for comment.
Confusion over new App Store guidelines
In early June, Apple announced modifications to its App Store Guidelines, changes aimed at cracking down on scammers, fake reviews and other potential criminal activity.
The amendment also targeted apps with overt pornographic content or those that facilitate prostitution or human trafficking, LGBTQ news and lifestyle magazine Out reported.
Under guideline 1.1.4, apps "that may include pornography or be used to facilitate prostitution" could also face removal. The new change sparked controversy online, with some interpreting it to mean Apple would ban dating apps, particularly those that cater to the LGBTQ+ community like Grindr and Scruff.
In an email to USA TODAY, Apple said that the company has never allowed any apps dedicated to pornography or human trafficking on its App Store, and the guideline was simply updated to clarify its position to app developers.
Longtime casual dating apps, like Grindr or Scruff, that don't intentionally include pornographic images or have other malicious intent have not and will not be rejected, an Apple spokesperson told USA TODAY in an emailed statement.
The post's other claims are hit and miss.
Texas did introduce a law banning abortion after a heartbeat is detected and another requiring strip club employees and patrons to be 21 years and older. Lawmakers said the limits were raised from 18 in an effort to crackdown on sex trafficking, particularly of underage workers.
And the meme is only partially right about eBay. The company announced starting June 15, any adult items with illegal or explicitly sexual content will be prohibited from sale. Sellers, however, will still be able to list adults items, such as sex toys or nude paintings, if those listings don't show sexual content.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Grindr was banned from Apple's App Store. The claim comes from a viral tweet sparked by confusion over Apple's updated App Store guidelines. The company confirmed dating app Grindr was never banned.
Our fact-check sources:
Know Your Meme, Jan. 19, Living in 1984
@VeeChattie, June 13, Tweet (archived)
The Verge, June 7, Apple's new App Store guidelines put scammers and bounty hunters on notice
Apple, accessed Sept. 28, App Store Review Guidelines
The Guardian, June 15, No, Apple's new policy doesn't mean it's banning Grindr
Reuters, June 16, Fact Check-Apple has not banned Grindr from the App Store in the U.S.
Apple, Sept. 28, Phone and email exchange with USA TODAY
Reason, June 3, Barely Legal Strippers Now Fully Illegal in Texas
San Antonio Current, June 1, Texas Governor signs new law requiring strip club employees and patrons to be at least 21
The Verge, May 14, eBay will enact a sex ban starting June 15th
eBay, accessed Sept. 28, Adult items policy
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim that Apple banned dating app Grindr