LGBTQ dating app Grindr is warning its users that Egyptian police are using fake and hijacked accounts to trap users looking for dates on the app.
“We have been alerted that Egyptian police is actively making arrests of gay, bi, and trans people on digital platforms,” a warning to Egyptian users on the app says. “They are using fake accounts and have also taken over accounts from real community members who have already been arrested and had their phones taken.”
The warnings from Grindr follow reports from Human Rights Watch that authorities in multiple countries in the Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt, have used fake accounts to trap and arrest LGBTQ people.
LGBTQ people have long faced discrimination in Egypt, but police efforts have increased in recent weeks, Patrick Lenihan, head of global communications for Grindr, told The Washington Post.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, but authorities have used vague “public morality” laws to arrest gay men in the country anyway. The U.S. State Department acknowledged violence targeting the LGBTQ community in Egypt in a 2021 report.
Grindr has sent similar warnings to users in 90 countries, according to Lenihan.
“[Grindr is] pushing international organizations and governments to demand justice and safety for the Egyptian LGBTQ community,” Lenihan said.