Pakistan bans Tinder, Grindr over 'immoral' content
Pakistan is launching a crackdown on popular online dating services. The country has announced the decision to ban as many as five meet-up and social networking apps for not abiding with its digital laws and allowing the dissemination of content deemed as 'immoral and indecent' in the public. Here is all you need to know about it.
Tinder, Grindr, Skout, SayHi, and Tagged blocked
The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) recently issued a statement saying it would block access to five online services operating in the country - Tinder, Grindr, Skout, SayHi, and Tagged. It said that the action is being taken "in view [of] the negative effects of immoral/indecent content streaming" through these services, which is a direct violation of Pakistan's digital laws.
Notices already sent for removal of services
PTA claimed that it had sent written notices to all the five companies but they failed to respond within the given time, prompting it to enforce the ban. The notices, according to the regulator, had asked the companies to remove their 'dating services' and moderate publicly shared and live-streamed content in compliance with the local laws of Pakistan.
No word from any of the companies yet
At the time of writing, none of the dating companies had issued a comment on the matter. According to data from Sensor Tower, Tinder was downloaded 440,000 times in Pakistan within the last 12 months, while Grindr, Tagged and SayHi each had witnessed 300,000 downloads during the same period. Skout, on the other hand, had about 100,000 downloads.
Ban could be revoked in future
Even as the companies remain banned, PTA has said that it could reconsider the decision if the platforms' management "assures adherence to the local laws with respect to moderating the indecent content". Prior to this, the country had also issued warning notices to TikTok and YouTube over explicit and vulgar content and blocked Bigo Live for 10 days for similar violations.
Experts, however, are skeptical of these decisions
The recent and the latest crackdown on content deemed immoral and illegal has led experts to argue that the country is using its digital laws to target free speech as well as posts critical of the Pakistani government and military, Reuters reported. Pakistan, to recall, is the world's second-largest Muslim majority nation where homosexuality is illegal.