An Australian anti-marriage equality group has enlisted the same app developers as US presidential candidate Donald Trump and the ultra-powerful National Rifle Association for a new app about marriage.
Marriage Alliance, the group behind the app, was founded in 2015. While the group is relatively media-shy, several prominent members are current and former members of the Liberal party.
The app is created by Political Social Media LLC, a company headquartered in the US state of Virginia.
Political Social Media LLC has made apps for various right-wing American causes and politicians, including US presidential candidate Donald Trump (America First), the National Rifle Association (NRA-ILA), and the Republican Party's 2016 campaign (Lead Right 2016).
The company has also developed an app for the Australian Christian Lobby, which is working closely with Marriage Alliance as well as other anti-marriage equality groups and churches to mount the "no" campaign in the event of a national vote on marriage.
The Marriage Alliance app has a heavy reliance on data collection, asking users to submit details and contacts in order to receive "Action Points", which allow badges to be unlocked and prizes earned.
Action points can also be earned by reading articles – the current one is "The Green Left: Using Threats And Tantrums To Repress Democracy" – liking Marriage Alliance's various social media pages, and signing a petition asking Bill Shorten to support a national plebiscite on marriage.
Earlier this year, Marriage Alliance came under fire for allegedly accessing Liberal party email lists to distribute anti-marriage equality material.
The matter was referred to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and after a lengthy delay in responding, Marriage Alliance denied any wrongdoing.
The commissioner eventually decided not to pursue the complaint, telling the complainant that he was satisfied Marriage Alliance was exempt from the Privacy Act as they were classified as a small business, with an annual turnover of $3 million or less.
The app suggested alongside Marriage Alliance in the iTunes Store as "customers also bought this" is private messaging app Wickr, made famous in the Australian political sphere when prime minister Malcolm Turnbull revealed he uses it last year.
Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Lane Sainty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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