Reignite Democracy Australia app pulled from Google, remains on Apple store

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Chris Cooper, executive director of the advocacy group Reset Australia, urged Apple to follow Google in pulling down Reignite’s app, saying while the smaller platforms remained fringe they could still harbour hate speech and misinformation.

“It’s a strange scenario where you’ve got Google, who have allowed a lot of this content to proliferate on [its video-sharing subsidiary] YouTube now one step ahead of Apple at this point.”

On its website, Reignite describes itself as an advocacy group and aspiring media outlet committed to liberty and individual freedom. It claims it is not “anti or pro-vax” but instead favours choice. As a result, it says it opposes vaccine mandates.

But on the encrypted messaging app Telegram it has claimed, incorrectly, that “vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds does NOTHING” and posted an image saying “Omicron is vaccine adverse reactions” as a “calculated opinion”. That is also false. Omicron is a variant of the original COVID-19 virus.

Google and Apple both declined to comment, while Reignite did not respond to requests for comment.

In a post on Reignite’s website dated December 6, a spokeswoman said Google “wanted us to remove content they labelled as ‘Medical Misinformation’. We would not do this as it was a member of RDASocial and free speech is adhered to.”

“Perhaps we were naive in thinking we could use these types of platforms,” she said, offering refunds.

Apple has policies for its apps that prohibit false information or anything that could cause physical harm. Google has a more specific policy that bans apps that contain misleading claims, including about medical or health matters.

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