Tinder for anti-vaxxers is my actual nightmare

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There’s a dating app for pretty much everyone these days, from wannabe sugar babies/mommas/daddies to those just looking for mess-free hookups. For a hot second, the App Store even offered an app for anti-vaxxers, aptly named Unjected. While I’m all for dating apps that let you do you, this isn’t it. As the Delta variant sweeps across the country, fueled largely by vaccination refusal and hesitancy, the last thing we need is an app that brings anti-vaxxers together and circulates dangerous misinformation about the pandemic. Yet that’s exactly what Unjected is — or was. Thankfully, the app got yanked before it really gained its foothold. On Saturday, Apple pulled the so-called Tinder for the unvaxxed from its App Store, Gizmodo reported.

In a story about how Apple and Google are dealing with misinformation on Unjected, Bloomberg explained that the app launched in May as a "dating and friendship platform" after popular apps like Bumble and Tinder rolled out incentives for their users to get the jab.

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Unjected then started a social feed, Bloomberg reported, which — surprise, surprise — became a cesspool of user-generated false claims that vaccines were “experimental mRNA gene modifiers,” and “nano-technology microchips” that hooked recipients up to the 5G network. In response to Google flagging these outrageous theories, Unjected removed its social feed, but one founder told Bloomberg of plans to reinstate it while “stay[ing] under the radar.”

And if that weren’t egregious enough, Unjected also spreads lies about vaccinated people, Gizmodo noted, ominously describing “adverse events after being exposed to the Vaccinated” in its Google Play Store description. The app also allows users to find anti-vax businesses and services.

Apple removed Unjected from the App Store after Bloomberg reached out, Gizmodo said. Apple told the outlet that it initially rejected Unjected from the App Store for violating the company’s requirement that all COVID-related apps need to offer credible health information.

After developers made updates, Apple approved Unjected — at which point the app continued its shady shenaingans. One co-founder asked users to steer clear of words like “vaccination” or “microchip” to evade detection by the company’s reviewers, Apple told Gizmodo, an attempt to game the system that would warrant removal from the App Store.

“The only statement we have is that we are a respectful group of people supporting their medical autonomy and freedom of choice, and that we believe their unjust censorship policy’s on google and apple [sic] violates our constitutional rights,” Unjected said to Gizmodo.

But to those of us frustrated by the failure of vaccination percentages to budge, all while the number of new cases has risen fourfold every day in the past month, per the New York Times, Unjected’s intentions aren’t as innocent as its statement makes them seem. Their users’ “medical autonomy” and “freedom of choice” necessarily impinge on others’ rights to move through the world without fear of getting infected by COVID-19, and/or possibly spreading it to their loved ones — and to finally see an end to a pandemic that’s already taken far too much from us.