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Tinder Releases Update to Protect LGBTQ Travelers

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The popular dating app added a safety feature that brings up a travel alert when LGBTQ users visit one of the over 70 countries that have criminalized same-sex relations.

Tinderhas released a safety update designed to protect LGBTQ travelers in dangerous countries.

The update causes a traveler alert to pop up when these users visit countries that have criminalized homosexuality. The feature gives the user the option to hide their profile or make it public. It also removes a user's sexual orientation and gender identity if displayed in order to protect him, her, or them from being targeted.

"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," said Elie Seidman, CEO of Tinder.

The app will reset to its normal settings after the user leaves the possibly dangerous country.

Tinder worked with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association to create the travel alert, which was designed with the help of the organization's State-Sponsered Homophobia Report.

"We support Tinder's dedication to improving security features for their users," said Andre du Plessis, executive director at ILGA World. "We work hard to change practices, laws and attitudes that put LGBTQ people at risk -- including the use of dating apps to target our community -- but in the meantime, the safety of our communities also depends on supporting their digital safety."

The gay dating app Scruff also has travel safety features on their website. The app offers information on LGBTQ criminalization by country called the Gay Travel Advisory (GTA), which pops up on the screen when users travel to a nation with LGBTQ criminalization. Scruff does not show the exact location of users internationally and it also protects users from law enforcement using the app to target them. It also has Scruff ambassadors who act as helpers for tourists.

"Scruff wants to [keep] our members safe when they travel and we can do that with a technical approach to obscure a member's location when in [a] region with unique risks," said Eric Silverberg, CEO of Scruff.

Scruff also worked with ILGA World to create its safety features.

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