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Does some part of the system consider the applications' Marketplace categories -- "Social" for Grindr and "Lifestyle" for Sex Offenders Search -- so similar that it thinks users would be interested seeing connections between the categories?This is plausible but there are many other applications in both categories that might be linked -- why these two?As I was installing Grindr on my Android phone yesterday, I scrolled down to take a look at the list of "related" and "relevant" applications. There, first on the list, was "Sex Offender Search," a free application created by Life360 that lets you "find sex offenders near you and protect your child ... How many potential Grindr users were dissuaded from downloading the application because they saw this listed as a related application?so you can keep your family safe."I was flabbergasted. In essence: Who did this linking, how does it work, and what harm is it doing?The description of Grindr lists no keywords but says that it "only allows males 18 years or older" to download the application and that "[p]hotos depicting nudity or sex acts are strictly prohibited." The only word common to both applications is "sex." But the word "sex" also appears in Deep Powder Software's "Marine Biology" application.It's hard to see the overlap among these three applications yet, for some reason, the Marketplace thinks the most relevant application to Grinder is Sex Offender Search.He has told no one else that he's attracted to guys and hasn't entirely come out to himself yet.His family, friends and co-workers have suggested to him -- either explicitly or subtly -- that they're either homophobic at worst, or grudgingly tolerant at best.
You start up the app and immediately see how close other users are and some information about them. Manhunt, Jack'd, Scruff and Maleforce all have i Phone or Android apps, and sites like Gay Romeo.com, Adam4and uk have been letting gay/bi/curious men filter user profiles by geographic location for years.
Or maybe he even starts to think that there is a link between gay men and sexual abuse because, after all, the Marketplace had to have made that association for some reason.
If the objective, rational algorithm made the link, there has to be some truth to the link, right?
Is the Android Marketplace noticing a large overlap between those who download Grindr and those who install Sex Offender Search?
This seems unlikely given their two very different target audiences.The problem of deciding what to sell through the app store is not new.