Apple has banned a dating and community app for anti-vaxxers named Unjected from its App Store, prompting the app founders to complain of “censorship”.

Launched in May 2021, Unjected promised to provide a “safe space” for people who chose to not get vaccinated for Covid-19. When pulling it from its App Store, Apple said Unjected “inappropriately refers to the COVID-19 pandemic in its comment or theme.”

Unjected remains available on Google Play, although Google issued a warning about false claims on the app’s feed. The app, which functions similarly to mainstream dating apps like Tinder, has been downloaded more than 1,000 times from Google Play.

Shelby Thomson, a photographer based in Hawaii, co-founded Unjected. She told the New York Post: “We’re being mislabelled as this anti-vax community, which is so not the case. We’re just not pro-mandatory vaccination. It just should be a choice.”

A spokesperson for Unjected told Gizomodo: “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 violates our constitutional rights.”

Dating apps such as Tinder have introduced security functions such as user photo verification, but the Unjected website explains that Unjected is “unable to verify every user for validity”.

It adds: “Unjected and it’s [sic] founders are not responsible or liable for any unfavourable outcomes that could arise.”

The app has faced criticism for its functionality as well as its anti-science stance. One reviewer of the app on Google Play wrote: “Amazing concept but holy $%^& this app is practically unusable. More bugs than the Amazon rainforest. Can’t even send a single message without it freezing the app every time.”

“Great idea, but horrible app. Nothing makes sense… format is all wrong, and I do not like how it is displaying my address when I never entered that information anywhere and cannot find a way to remove it. Isn’t that against privacy standards?” another wrote.

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