In a bid to protect its LGBTQ users, dating app Tinder has introduced a new feature that will alert them when they are in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
The warning will appear if Tinder is opened in one of these almost 70 nations to ensure that users are aware of the potential dangers the LGBTQ community faces — so that they can take extra caution and do not unknowingly place themselves in danger simply for being themselves.
Dating apps have been used by blackmailers and the authorities in a number of repressive countries, such as Egypt, to identify and entrap gay men.
Tinder’s LGBTQ users will now no longer automatically appear when they open the app in these areas. Once the alert is activated, they will have the choice to remain hidden while in that location or opt into making their profile public so that they can connect with new people.
If a user chooses to be shown on Tinder – and has added sexual orientation or gender identity to their profile – this will not be displayed until they leave that area.
The alert will appear when users are on the ground in the anti-LGBTQ countries, as well as if they are using Tinder’s Passport feature to connect and match with people in those locations.
“We fundamentally believe that everyone should be able to love who they want to love — and we strive to reflect this in everything we do at Tinder,” said CEO Eli Seidman in a media release.
“It is unthinkable that, in 2019, there are still countries with legislation in place that deprives people of this basic right. We serve all communities — no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation — and we are proud to offer features that help keep them safe. This alert is an example of the many steps that we are taking to protect our users around the world.”
The company worked with ILGA World to help establish locations in which the Traveller Alert will appear. Together, they also added new information to Tinder’s Safety Tips to include relevant information about the update.
“We hope this development will raise awareness amongst all Tinder users, and help protect people of diverse sexual orientation in the 69 countries around the world that currently still criminalise same-sex love,” commented André du Plessis, executive director of ILGA World.
“We work hard to change practices, laws, and attitudes that put LGBTQ people at risk — including the use of dating apps to target our community — but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety.”