Tinder has announced a new safety feature designed to protect LGBTIQ users when they’re in countries where it could be unsafe to swipe.
The dating app’s Traveler Alert system will inform LGBTQ users when they’ve entered a country criminalising same-sex consensual activity.
The feature gives the user the option to hide their profile or opt to make it public.
Tinder worked with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) to determine the 69 countries still criminalise same-sex activity.
This includes countries where police “have been known to use dating apps as tools for potential entrapment,” the company explained.
As the feature is rolled out, alerts will also appear for users living in each area. The alerts will include a link to ILGA for details on local laws.
“It is unthinkable that, in 2019, there are still countries with legislation in place that deprives people of this basic right,” Tinder CEO Elie Seidman said.
“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.”
ILGA World executive director André du Plessis said he hoped the update would raise awareness amongst users.
“We hope this [will] help protect people of diverse sexual orientation in the 69 countries around the world that currently still criminalize same-sex love,” he said.
He said ILGA work to change anti-LGBTIQ practices, laws, and attitudes, including the use of apps to target LGBTIQ people.
“But in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety.”
Tinder under fire from transgender users
Tinder is available in 190 countries and in more than 40 languages. But the company has copped criticism from LGBTIQ users in the past, in particular transgender people.
Many trans users have complained of a pattern of Tinder banning their accounts without explanation.
Last year, one trans woman sued Tinder for banning her for violating the terms of service but not explaining how.
The company said at the time: “We do not ban users from Tinder due to gender identity.
“At Tinder, we fundamentally believe that gender is not binary and we support inclusivity and acceptance of all people.”
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