Samsung and Google Play have taken down gay networking apps including Jack’d in South Korea according to app developers.
A report from Buzzfeed released Friday found Samsung, based in Seoul, refuses to list apps like Hornet, Grindr or Scruff in its country owing to ‘local moral values.’
Hornet’s CEO Sean Howell received an email which said his app had been removed due to: ‘Local moral values and laws [in which] LGBT is not allowed’.
It also said it: ‘Does limit LGBT content on a country-by-country basis.’
Hornet isn’t listed in Syria, Iceland or Argentina too – though the last two legalised gay marriage.
Another app Jack’d was banned in South Korea, but from the more popular Google Play website. Google have not said why.
However, the app’s mangers report they have around 500,000 users in South Korea. Presumably South Koreans are using loopholes like VPN to download apps banned in their country. Guides to doing so are easily avaliable online.
South Korea has the fastest broadband, and the highest smartphone penetration in the world, making it a lucrative and fast-growing market for developers.
However the country is notably conservative and religious; the government recently tried to close down its 16th pride parade, but failed after much protest.
Censorship is present in South Korea owing to the ongoing war with North Korea.
Despite no military action taken for decades, censors are cautious of anything which could be perceived as abnormal.