ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has blocked access to five dating apps for their delivery of “immoral/indecent content” in the majority-Muslim nation.
The state regulator, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, PTA, identified the platforms as Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, Skout and SayHi.
“PTA issued notices to the above-mentioned platforms for the purpose of removing dating services and to moderate livestreaming content in accordance with the local laws of Pakistan,” PTA said Tuesday.
It did not elaborate on the ban, but the country’s laws prohibit homosexuality and extra-marital relationships.
The PTA statement noted that the five companies failed to respond to its directive within the stipulated time, prompting the authority to block their services in Pakistan. The statement did not elaborate on the time frame.
Officials at the five companies have not commented on PTA’s action, which has been criticized at home.
“PTA, deciding what adults should watch privately or not, is itself “immoral” if “morality” or “moral order” could be understood as a term in Islamic Pakistan! PTA is creating undemocratic trends; courts need to stop PTA!,” tweeted Moeed Pirzada, a prime-time TV news anchor in Pakistan.
Tinder is globally popular and owned by Match Group.
Grindr, which has a large following in the United States, describes itself as a social network “for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.”
The PTA directive noted, however, that the authority can unblock the services if the management of their companies “assures adherence to the local laws with respect to moderating the indecent/immoral content through meaningful engagement.”
Data from analytics firm Sensor Tower shows Tinder has been downloaded more than 440,000 times in Pakistan within the last 12 months, the Reuters news agency reported.
Grindr, Tagged and SayHi have each been downloaded about 300,000 times. Skout has been downloaded 100,000 times during the same period, according to the data.
Last week, PTA formally asked video sharing platforms YouTube and TikTok to immediately block what PTA denounced as “vulgar, indecent, nude and hate speech content for viewing in Pakistan.”
The authorities directed both companies to tighten its content monitoring and moderation mechanism to block access to “the unlawful material” and “objectionable” content.