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Google blocks gay dating app Blued after requests from Indonesian government

Google blocks gay dating app Blued after requests from Indonesian government

Blued logo and image of shirtless man

Tech giant Google has followed requests from the Indonesian government and removed the gay dating app Blued.

About two weeks ago the Indonesian Ministry of Communications asked Google to block access to 73 LGBTI related smartphones applications.

The government wanted Blued shut down because it believed it contravened the country’s anti-pornography laws.

Google would not reveal whether it would comply with the government’s request to block the remaining apps.

‘We adhere to applicable local law in the countries in which we operate, but don’t comment on individual apps,’ a Google spokesperson told Gay Star News.

But on Wednesday (31 January) a spokesperson for the Communications ministry said Blued was no longer available in the Google Play Store.

‘There was some negative content related to pornography inside the application,’ Noor Iza told AFP.

‘Probably one or some members of the application put the pornographic content inside.’

Chinese owned Blued is the world’s most used gay dating app with 27 million users worldwide. Blued is still available in the Apple store in Indonesia.

Blued’s website is blocked in Indonesia after the government banned LGBTI content online.

Google’s transparency report

Every few months Google updates its Transparency Report, which reveals ‘data that sheds light on how the policies and actions of governments and corporations affect privacy, security, and access to information online’.

The report also includes a section dedicated to government requests to remove content.

Consumers will have to wait a few months before being able to read more about Google’s decision to comply with the Indonesian government’s request to block Blued.

Indonesian persecution of LGBTI people

During its two year crackdown on the LGBTI community, the government and law enforcement have used the country’s anti-pornography law to persecute LGBTI people.

Multiple raids across the country have been carried out under the guise of preventing pornography in the country.

The government blocked the use of GIFs on the popular instant messaging service WhatsApp last year. The Communications Ministry said it could not monitor GIFs because of WhatsApp’s encryption. It argued GIFs could be used to spread ‘obscene content’.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia but the House of Representatives is reviewing amendments to the Criminal Code which could see homosexuality as soon as Valentine’s Day this year.

Gay Star News has reached out to Blued for comment.