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  • Following major backlash Google swiftly pulled the controversial app.

    Following major backlash Google swiftly pulled the controversial app. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 March 2019

A Change.org petition requesting that the search engine magnate remove the app, made the rounds and received more than 100,000 signatures.

Internet giant Google suffered a major blow Thursday after Human Rights Campaign (HRC) downranked the company in its index of the best LGBTQ-friendly employers over an alleged conversion therapy app.

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Conversion therapy can lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, homelessness, and suicide,” the HRC wrote in its index. “Pending remedial steps by the company to address this app that can cause harm to the LGBTQ community, the [Corporate Equality Index] rating is suspended.”

The HRC noted the presence of the conversion therapy-style app by Living Hope Ministries in the Google Play Store. 

“We have been urging Google to remove this app because it is life-threatening to LGBTQ youth and also clearly violates the company’s own standards,” the Human Rights Campaign said. 

Conversion therapy seeks to change a person's sexual orientation or gender identity and is banned in multiple U.S. states.

A Change.org petition requesting that the search engine magnate remove the app, made the rounds and received more than 100,000 signatures.

“Google being suspended from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index is the latest chapter in the ongoing effort to hold Google accountable for promoting ex-gay therapy,” Michael Jones, Change.org’s managing director of campaigns, said in a statement.

“More than 140,000 people — and make no mistake, that number is going to continue to climb — are pleading with Google to stop hosting apps that call LGBT young kids broken, and encourages them to change their sexual orientation. Google simply cannot ignore the growing movement pushing them to do what’s right and remove ex-gay therapy apps.”

The Living Hope Ministries app allegedly seeks to “help homosexuals leave their destructive lifestyles” while defining homosexuality as "a stomach-ulcer-of-a-life," according to Change.org.

However, Living Hope Ministries denies that it promotes conversion therapy.

The ministry’s website inconspicuously states that it “speaks to thousands of people each year about how they, as Christ-followers, might respond redemptively to those who are struggling with same-gender attraction.”

Following major backlash and the downrank Google swiftly pulled the controversial app from the Play Store, TechCrunch reported.

A Google spokesperson confirmed to The Hill that the app which promotes "committed, monogamous, heterosexual" relationships and declares that “anything less than this ideal falls short of God's view for humanity" had been removed from the Play Store.

"After consulting with outside advocacy groups, reviewing our policies, and making sure we had a thorough understanding of the app and its relation to conversion therapy, we’ve decided to remove it from the Play Store, consistent with other app stores," the spokesperson said.

The app was also previously removed from Apple, Microsoft and Amazon app stores, Axios reported. 

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