Grindr today announced that it has joined forces with global free speech organization, ARTICLE 19, to help protect LGBTQ+ communities in Egypt, Iran and Lebanon who face police harassment, torture and imprisonment. As a result of the collaboration with ARTICLE 19, Grindr will implement a number of changes to the Grindr app to better protect users in the Middle East, Gulf and North African regions where LGBTQ communities are persecuted.
The changes, which include the ability to change the app’s icon appearance and the addition of a password security lock, were the result of an inquiry conducted by Grindr on how to better protect LGBTQ users internationally. After hearing from a number of sources including, regional users and activists, community leaders, and a variety of digital and human rights organisations, Grindr consulted with ARTICLE 19 to determine that these initial changes could provide the broadest level of impact.
Jack Harrison-Quintana, Director of Grindr for Equality, said:
“Ensuring the safety of our users worldwide is a top priority for Grindr. In addition to changes to our architecture we have been working with regional activists to put out weekly, and at times of heightened scrutiny, daily notifications providing safety tips to avoid police entrapment as well as information about how to contact local LGBTQ resources.”
In countries where there are few or no LGBTQ rights, technology has become an important tool in creating a safe space where people can interact and meet. However, ARTICLE 19 and Grindr for Equality’’s research showed that just having a dating app on your device can be enough to get arrested, something that might be result from a physical device inspection. In Egypt in particular, targeted police campaigns against the LGBTQ community led to over 70 people being arrested in between September and November 2017.
Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 said:
“This partnership is helping to keep LGBTQ people safe in countries where their sexuality puts them at risk of arrest, prison and even torture. Ultimately we want governments in these countries to stop their persecution of people based on their sexual identity, but these practical changes can help to reduce the impact of these repressive crackdowns. This is also a partnership that demonstrates how human rights groups and for profit businesses can work together to help mitigate human rights abuses.”
On the occasion of ARTICLE 19’s 30th anniversary, Harrison-Quintana will be discussing this project at the Expression Agenda Event on 30 November at King’s Place, London. Other panelists include Dalia Abd El-hameed, Head of the Gender Program, Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) Dia Kayyali, Technology and Advocacy Program Manager, WITNESS and BBC journalist Ali Hamedani.
Notes to Editor
With over 3 million daily active users in every country in the world, Grindr is the largest LGBTQ mobile social network. Since its launch in 2009, Grindr has grown to become a fundamental part of users’ daily lives globally. The company continues to expand their ecosystem to enable all users to connect to the world around them. Through INTO, a digital content channel for and by the LGBTQ community, various events, and experiential opportunities, Grindr is helping users engage across the spectrum.
Headquartered in West Hollywood, California, Grindr is powered by a team of over 100 employees. A Certified Transgender-Inclusive Business, Grindr encompasses a diverse and passionate family of makers, innovators, leaders, and most importantly, doers. Grindr employees are fueled by an endless curiosity, an ability to embrace change, a respectful and collaborative work environment, and a knack for crossing every finish line.
Grindr is proud to have been recognized by Fast Company as one of the ten “Most Innovative Social Media Companies in 2016” and by Forbes as a “model for corporate social responsibility.”