An LGBTQ “conversion” app, created by the Malaysian Government, has been removed from Google Play after it was found to violate Google Play guidelines.

The app has been around since 2016 and was removed this week when it drew criticism after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department advertised it on social media.

According to the Independent, the app falsely claims to help the LGBTQ community “return to the right path.”

The app also included a 146-page e-book about the “true experience of a gay man who migrated during Ramadan to abandon homosexual behaviour.”

Google Prohibit Apps That Deceive Users

In a statement to the Guardian, Google said, “Whenever an app is flagged to us, we investigate against our Play store policies and if violations are found we take appropriate action to maintain a trusted experience for all.”

Google Play store policies prohibit apps that “attempt to deceive users or enable dishonest behavior including but not limited to apps which are determined to be functionally impossible.”

According to Human Rights Watch, “successive governments in Malaysia have employed anti-LGBT rhetoric as a political tool, calling on LGBT people to ‘change’ their gender identity or sexual orientation to ‘return to the right path’ or risk retribution.”

This is not the first LGBTQ conversion app removed by Google Play. In 2019, Google removed a US-based “pray away the gay” app created by Living Hope Ministries.

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

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