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Google Play Gets Strict on 'Offensive' AI Apps with Updated Policies

Google Play is refining its policies to tackle controversial AI-generated content. Developers are mandated to implement in-app flagging and reporting of offensive AI content.

Google Play Revamps Policies for AI Apps

Buckle up, app developers! Google Play is upping its game against contentious AI-generated apps. The tech giant has introduced a fresh policy, set to kick in next year, which mandates Android app developers on its platform to introduce in-app mechanisms for users to report offensive AI-produced content.

The move comes in the wake of a surge in AI-based apps. Lensa, for example, was manipulated by users into churning out NSFW content. Another app, Remini, was under the scanner for amplifying certain female features in AI headshots. Add to that the unsettling bypasses in Microsoft’s and Meta’s AI tools, and the potential for misuse in the political arena via deepfakes.

The policy’s wording sheds light on its scope, covering apps like ChatGPT and those where AI generates images based on various prompts. But Google isn’t stopping there. Reiterating its stance against restricted content like CSAM and deceptive behavior, the company is also tightening app permissions, particularly around photo and video access.

Apps now have restricted grounds to access photos or videos. Infrequent needs, say an AI app requesting a series of selfies, should now utilize a system picker like Android's new photo picker. Moreover, Google is reigning in apps exploiting full-screen notifications, narrowing their usage to genuine priority scenarios. An exclusive "Full Screen Intent permission" is being introduced for apps genuinely needing that complete screen experience, targeting Android 14 or higher.

Interestingly, while Apple often takes the lead in setting app standards, Google Play seems to be pioneering the movement against offensive AI content. Apple, however, hasn’t announced any formal AI or chatbot policy yet, though it remains stringent in other sectors.

Google Play's updated guidelines are live from today, but AI app makers have a grace period until 2024 to align with the new flagging and reporting rules.