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Tinder’s New Safety Feature Helps LGBTQ Travelers Stay Safe in Unfriendly Countries

Amid growing concern for the safety of LGBTQ dating app users in countries where same-sex encounters can be prosecuted, Tinder announced a new travel alert feature Wednesday. Now when LGBTQ Tinder users visit a country that penalizes same-sex relationships, those users will no longer automatically be visible on the dating app.

Tinder users have to enable their location settings in order for the app to show them nearby matches. When Tinder detects an LGBTQ user is in one of the 69 countries around the world that have been deemed unfriendly, they'll see a warning screen.

"Based on your geographical location, it appears you're in a place where the LGBTQ community may be penalized," the alert reads. "We want you to have fun, but your safety is our #1 priority. Please proceed with caution and take extra care when making new matches and meeting with people you do not know." 

LGBTQ users will be given the option of hiding their profile while they're in the country, or proceeding to swipe with caution.

To determine which locations to deploy the alert, Tinder worked with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, a group representing LGBTQ people. In some countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, same sex relationships can be punishable by death.

In addition, Tinder also updated its online dating safety tips to warn LGBTQ users about the risks they could encounter swiping in these countries, including potential entrapment from law enforcement.

"Some countries have also recently introduced laws that criminalize communications between individuals on same-sex dating applications or websites, and even aggravate penalties if that communication leads to sexual encounters," the tips say.

Tinder isn't the only dating app to add an additional layer of safety for LGBTQ users as they travel.

Scruff, a dating app for gay, bisexual, and transgender men, which has more than 15 million users, also uses location data to warns its users when they might be in a part of the world where they need to be extra cautious.

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