LGBT dating app Grindr issues warning to users in Egypt | Lismore City News

LGBT dating app Grindr issues warning to users in Egypt | Lismore City News

Gay social networking app Grindr is warning users in Egypt to be wary of fake accounts set up by the police. (AP PHOTO)

A popular gay social networking app says it is issuing a warning to its users in Egypt as police impersonate community members to target LGBT individuals.

Users in Egypt will see the following warning appear in Arabic and English when they open the app starting Friday:

“We have been warned that the Egyptian police are actively making arrests of gay, bi and trans people on digital platforms. They are using fake accounts and have also taken over accounts of real community members who have already been arrested and had their phones taken. Please be extra careful online and offline, including with accounts that may have appeared legitimate in the past.”

Egypt, while not technically banning homosexuality, routinely persecutes members of the LGBT community on the grounds of ‘debauchery’ or ‘violation of public decency’. In 2017, seven were arrested for raising a rainbow flag at a rock concert. And arrests of homosexual and gender non-conforming individuals remain common.

An Egyptian government media official did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Grindr’s new measure.

The warning to users comes after rights groups and media reported how authorities in the wider region are increasingly using digital platforms to crack down on the LGBT community.

In February, Human Rights Watch released a report documenting dozens of cases of security agencies in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Tunisia extorting, harassing, publicly outing and detaining LGBT people based on their activities on Facebook and Instagram , as well as the dating app Grindr. The publication also questioned major tech companies for not investing enough in Arabic language content moderation and protection.

“Grindr is working with groups on the ground in Egypt to make sure our users have up-to-date information on how to stay safe, and we’re pushing international organizations and governments to demand justice and safety for the Egyptian LGBT community, Grindr spokesperson said. Patrick Lenihan in response to a request for comment Friday.

A popular dating app for the gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, California-based Grindr has faced criticism in the US and was fined in Norway for sharing personal data with third parties that could potentially identify users.

The privacy policy on the company’s website describes how it uses and aims to protect user data. It adds that its goal “is to put you in control of as much of the personal information you share in the Grindr properties as possible.”

Australian Associated Press

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