Jack'd has added a "blurring feature" to protect its American users from hate crimes.
The tool obfuscates the exact location of a user so that others using the gay dating app cannot pinpoint his whereabouts — although they can tell if he is nearby. It has previously been employed in antigay nations where this information could place queer people in peril.
Thanks to hatred incited by the presidential election, that list now includes the United States.
“The blurring feature was originally created as a tool to protect gay men in countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt that have a history of violence against the gay community,” confirmed Alon Rivel, the app's director of global marketing, in a statement.
“Since the 2016 election, however, there has been a surge in bullying and hate crimes against the LGBTQ community in the U.S.," he continued. "As a result, a growing number of gay men here want to increase their privacy and keep their locations private too.”
The U.S. election did indeed spark a surge in hate crimes and bullying targeting queer people. The Los Angeles Times reports that crimes against the city's LGBT population increased by 24.5 percent in 2016. Even LGBT centers, as symbols of the community, have experienced an uptick in attacks and defacement. An arsonist who attacked a Phoenix LGBT center was arrested last weekend.
“The world will live in is still not LGBTQ tolerant and with 70 percent of our users being young millennials, we have to be proactive in protecting their privacy,” said Rivel.
In his speech at the Republican National Convention, President Trump vowed to be an ally of the LGBT community, leaving some to hope he might help quell antigay sentiment. However, Trump's recent acts — his silence on the attacks on gay and bi men in Chechnya, his announced intention to ban transgender troops from the U.S. military, and the Justice Department's claim that the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act do not cover gay people — have had the opposite effect.