The crackdown on LGBT Egyptians under the regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ramped up since he took office in June, with discouraging reports of police entrapment through social media.
While there is no confirmed evidence of police using social networks to target gay people, an article that ran in the English-language Egyptian news publication Cairo Scene on September 2 called out Grindr as the primary tool for authorities to entrap people.
That was enough to get Grindr to implement a warning message when users open the app. Seen in the screen-grab above, it reads:
“Speak Safely — Egypt is arresting LGBT people, and police may be posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you. Please be careful about arranging meetings with people you don’t know, and be careful about posting anything that might reveal your identity.”
On Thursday six men were convicted of advertising their apartments on Facebook for gay men to use for a discreet hookup, which does suggest that police are keeping a watchful eye on the internet. The going rate is $200 to rent someone’s home for the night. The going rate for getting caught offering such a transaction is 2 years with labor.
Some 80 people this year have been arrested on charges of homosexual conduct. Grindr was under criticism earlier this year for its location feature which some argued could be used to pinpoint a users exact location.