The country’s telecom watchdog said Tuesday that it blocked access to Tinder, Tagged, Skout, Grindr and SayHi after the dating and live streaming apps fell afoul of local laws.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said it had issued notices to the companies advising them to remove dating services and moderate live streaming content on their apps. The companies didn’t respond in time — hence the block, the authority said.
The watchdog added that it can “reconsider” the block if the apps adhere to local laws and moderate indecent and immoral content.
Tinder and Grindr are popular in the United States and other Western countries. But the dating apps have far less traction in deeply conservative, religious Pakistan.
Tinder was downloaded 440,000 times in Pakistan in the last 12 months compared to 13 million times in the United States during the same period, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Grindr — which describes itself as “the largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people” — was downloaded 300,000 times in Pakistan compared to nearly 2 million in the United States in the last 12 months.
Tagged and SayHi had each been downloaded about 300,000 times in Pakistan, and Skout 100,000 times in the past 12 months, according to Sensor Tower.
Grindr’s chief operating officer Rick Marini said in a statement that the company is “deeply disappointed” by the ban.
“While we appreciate the broad discretion granted to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, we are exploring ways that we can be of service to the LGBTQ community in the region,” Marini said.
Tinder, which is owned by Match (MTCH), did not respond to a request for comment. The Meet Group, which owns Tagged and Skout, also did not respond to a request for comment. SayHi could not be reached for comment.
Pakistan’s telecommunications watchdog has also threatened to block TikTok, the popular video sharing app under enormous pressure in the United States.
In July, the government authority issued a “final warning” to TikTok over “immoral, obscene and vulgar content” found on the app. Last week, the regulator said it had met with senior management of TikTok and noted that while the app had taken down indecent content, it should put in place stronger content moderating to make sure “unlawful material” isn’t accessible in Pakistan.
– Sophia Saifi contributed to this report.