Global social news network Vocativ is reporting that the number of users on the popular hook up app Grindr has tripled during the Winter Olympic games. The total number of users in Russia is around 55,000 – small compared to countries such as the UK or USA — but there is much potential for growth as long as anti-gay groups don’t use the service to lure gay men to attack and entrap them.
One such group was filmed for Channel 4’s Dispatches program called Hunted. The program caused outcry in the UK, when a group of men and one woman, Katya (Ekaterina) Zigunova, were filmed savagely beating and interrogating a gay man they found using an Internet site. Last year a man was reportedly killed after he was lured, sanred and then tortured by a group, who posed as an individual on a social network site, who wanted to meet.
Russia does have its own hook up app, called Hunters. It was, however, recently hacked and shut down.
The app had around 72,000 active users, of which the tech team were only able to retrieve 24 percent after the hack.The company is now moving its servers to prevent further attacks.
Last year the Russian government passed a bill making it illegal to talk about ‘non-traditional’ relationships to anyone under the age of 18. A 100-year ban was also put in place on holding a gay pride in Moscow.
Grindr owners have been asked if they had in place any safeguards for users in Russia to protect them from abuse from anti-gay abusers, but they have not responded.