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But no matter what I said, their replies were almost always frisky, come-ons used with third-grade English. I asked them out for a drink; they would say something about getting it on. Eventually, they would me a link to a webcam site that asks for my credit card information. Also, many of the guys on Grindr — even the ones supposedly seeking relationships — didn't actually want more. Take year-old Manuel for instance. After three or four cocktails at a bar in the Castro neighborhood, Manuel came over to my apartment.

Ten minutes later, we were furiously making out. But things got awkward fast. Ten seconds later, Manuel bolts for the door, arguing he no longer feels "comfortable" with the situation.

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Grindr makes hookups easier than ever, but those seeking meaningful connections are better off looking elsewhere. Each one closely follows Grindr's formula: Hornet's graphic interface is silky smooth compared to Grindr's, for example. Jack'd, Hornet, Scruff and GuySpy also one-up Grindr with a map feature that lets you search for users in other towns and cities. It's good if you have an upcoming trip and want to plan ahead for dates or other "recreational" activities. But if you've seen one or two of these types of apps, you've probably seen them all.

There's a lot of overlap with users; many of the same people on Grindr were also on Jack'd and Hornet. The one exception to that rule was Scruff, an app for guys with beards and possibly more hair in other areas, hence the app's name. The app's all-black, faux-tough guy motif isn't all that memorable, but Scruff has redeeming qualities — namely a narrowed down user base with more than 6.

Scruff also offers a Scruff Match feature, which serves up, well, matches. But it only seems to pair people based on what they're looking for — dates, relationships, fun — not deeper criteria, such as common interests. I like my guys clean-cut, maybe with a few days of facial hair, but there were some undeniably handsome men on Scruff, even if my messages on that app went unanswered. Like your men hairier? Give Scruff a shot.

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But pass on the rest. The place had a s flair, marrying rustic wood with soft lighting and live jazz. I was No. It approves its users based on LinkedIn resumes and friend networks. Once you get off the waitlist, which currently stands at more than , people, the app presents up to five matches per day in a clean, straightforward interface.

You can either like your matches or simply pass.

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Mutual likes open up a digital chat window that closes after 21 days. I haven't found the app to be quite that exclusive, but where Grindr emphasizes people's physical characteristics and statistics in profiles, and OkCupid plays up aspects such as interests, The League highlights users' education and jobs first. More than half of all matches engage in conversation, and almost one-third of matches try to meet up IRL. My date was with Adam, a handsome, fast-talking twenty-something entrepreneur whose company passed through a top startup incubator.

When I first moved to San Francisco more than four years ago, I avoided dating guys in tech. However, I quickly realized that was almost impossible in this city. But Andrew, who added me on Facebook even before our first date, proved fun. I had better luck with Jacob, a year-old startup CEO who seemed to have it all: Even better: He had read my work, quoted a line or two back to me, and sometimes even made me laugh — all of which scored him major points.

On my fifth date with Jacob, we got Chinese delivered to my place. He brought over a chilled bottle of cheap champagne, and we snuggled lazily on the couch, making out. But even with champagne-colored goggles, I knew things weren't going to work.

Jacob fulfilled many of the things I was looking for in a partner, but, in reality, the physical connection wasn't there. The app is great if you're a career climber who is looking for a likeminded match.

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If you haven't tried Tinder, chances are you've at least heard of it. The app simplified dating into a finger swipe: Swipe right to like, swipe left to pass. Pure genius. But when I swiped to the right on a boyish-looking year-old the next day, I was told that we were a match. There was just one problem, though. This match wasn't actually looking for love; he wasn't even a regular guy. His name was Zedd, and he's an electronic music artist.

His auto-reply was a preview link to his True Colors album. Tinder signed a deal with Zedd, and I just swiped right on one of the ads. Zedd will personally invite several lucky matches via Tinder to his upcoming shows. These were not the dominant reasons for the arrests and targeting of the users, but added to the vulnerability of users when they placed their trust in apps. These risks were not lost on the users, who are not just aware of the risks they face from the authorities and other homophobic non-state actors but also the risks they faced from app security flaws.

We gathered over responses to our questionnaire in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran, organized and helped the formation of focus groups lead by local organisations, and interviewed in-country queer activists in Middle Eastern and North African communities in Egypt, Lebanon and Iran to get a better understanding of issues ranging from what apps are being used, what their perceptions of apps and security are and experiences of harassment, entrapment and arrests.


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Following our research, we have brought together a coalition of local groups, activists, human rights experts, business and technologists to discuss how to combat the threats we have identified to LGBTQ individuals. How can an app help a user being stopped at a checkpoint by concealing their use of a queer app?

How can a user be helped if their chat logs and pictures are used as evidence against them in court? How can apps help connect groups to deliver a rapid response if an individual is arrested? By bringing these experts together we were able to innovate for better solutions to the toughest issues.

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The result was a point recommendation list for our app partners: And our experts have offered expertise to help implement these changes. Given the high risks faced by individual users in the Middle East and North Africa, the obligation to implement these recommendations should outweigh any financial or resourcing concerns. Not only do these recommendations enable companies to fulfil their responsibility to protect users, they allow them to build trust and secure their user base. As evidenced by our research, users consider security as a key factor when choosing apps. We also stress that apps need to provide contextual information to users — and for this they would need to work with local groups to advise users on: What to do if arrested?

What laws apply to them? What are their rights? We will continue to work as a coalition of human rights groups and apps to address security issues in Egypt, Iran and Lebanon and increase security for apps users.

We have already seen ground-breaking progress , from our partners Grindr and Grindr for Equality who are introducing new features to help protect users in high risk countries. Perhaps most importantly: We will conduct more focused research on the most at-risk, under-researched and uninformed groups, and look at ways to resolve thorny issues such as users wanting personal anonymity but verification of those they communicate with.

My husband on a big deal if they.