Indonesia | Google blocks gay dating app


Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia

Google has reportedly acceded to homophobic officials and removed the world’s most popular gay dating app from its online store in Indonesia.

On Wednesday, communications ministry spokesman Noor Iza said that the Chinese owned Blued app was no longer available for download to Indonesian users.

Launched in 2012, Blued has become the largest gay social networking app in the world with 27 million users, the majority of which are Chinese.

“There was some negative content related to pornography inside the application,” Iza told AFP. “Probably one or some members of the application put the pornographic content inside.”

Activists have accused the authorities of using the country’s anti-pornography law as a means to target and discriminate against LGBT people.

The Ministry of Communication and Informatics asked Google earlier this month to remove Blued, along with around 70 other unspecified LGBT-related apps from its Play Store.

With Indonesia’s population spanning more than 261 million people it’s not surprising that Google appears to have opted to not risk losing access to this market.

The Blued app is reported to still be available on Apple’s Indonesian online store.

In 2016, Indonesia’s government moved to censor any LGBT content in the media, including banning same-sex themed emoticons from messaging apps.

The latest censorship is another example of a growing crackdown against the community in the increasingly extremist Muslim country, which once had a reputation for being tolerant.

Over the last two years there have been a number of alarming incidents of harassment, abuse and intimidation by religious groups as well as homophobic condemnations and inflammatory statements by officials.

Homosexuality is legal in most of Indonesia, except in the Aceh province, where punishment includes public floggings.

There were at least five raids targeting LGBT people in private spaces in 2017, despite a pledge by Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in October 2016 that “there should be no discrimination” against LGBT people.

In December last year, ten of the 140 men arrested in a raid on a party at a gay sauna in Jakarta were sentenced to two years in prison for violating the anti-pornography law.

Human Rights Watch reports that Indonesian police and Sharia (Islamic law) police raided five hair salons owned by transgender women in Aceh province on Saturday. Twelve women were arrested. They were also forced to strip off their shirts and cut their hair in public.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend