Dating apps are refuges for Egypt’s LGBTQ community, but they can also be traps

Here's a powerful Russell Brandom story about gay dating apps in Egypt, which police have infiltrated and used to round up and torture queer people. It's a terrifying example of how social media and authoritarian governments can intersect, and it deserves more attention. Developers are doing what little they can to make the apps safer:

Since October, Grindr users in 130 countries have been able to change the way the app appears on the home screen, replacing the Grindr icon and name with an inconspicuous calculator app or other utility. Grindr also now features an option for a PIN, too, so that even if the phone is unlocked, the app won’t open without an additional passcode. If you’re stopped at a checkpoint (a common occurrence in countries like Lebanon), police won’t be able to spot Grindr by flipping through your phone. And if co-workers or suspicious parents do catch on to the masked app, they won’t be able to open it without your permission.


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