Pakistan has blocked five dating apps used by hundreds of thousands of people in the country: Tinder, Grindr, Tagged, SayHi, and Skout.
The reason? “Immoral/indecent content streaming,” Reuters reports. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) demanded that the apps remove their dating features and more closely monitor live streaming, which would defeat the purpose of using them.
The apps did not respond in a timely manner, according to the PTA, and are now blocked. We’ve reached out to the apps in question for comment, and will update if we hear back.
The move raises questions about how involved religious governments should be in regulating how its citizens choose to connect with others. Pakistan is an Islamic country where infidelity and homosexuality are illegal. That didn’t stop its citizens from using Grindr, which targets the LGBT community: It was downloaded about 300,000 times in the past 12 months. The Tinder dating app was downloaded 440,000 times in the same time frame, Reuters says.
Critics of Pakistan’s actions say the government’s censorship rules hinder free expression under the umbrella of removing “immoral” content.
Dating apps aren’t the only digital product Pakistan has sought to regulate. Popular short-video app TikTok got a “final warning” in August over the same charge: immoral content. And YouTube was asked to “immediately block vulgar, indecent, immoral, nude and hate speech content for viewing in Pakistan,” according to Reuters.