Scruff may provide users with a platform to share their sexual desires, but just make sure those desires don’t include the word “party.”
The gay dating app says it banned its members from including the word “party” in their profiles as a way to prohibit people from using it as a code word for drugs.
The ban is an attempt to crackdown on chemsex, a term often used to describe gay or bisexual men using drugs to facilitate sex with other men, but there are flaws in the plan that make it easy to get around.
Many users simply swap out a letter for a number, like “ch3m” and “p4rty,” in order to get the message across that they are looking to “party and play.”
Scruff has actually used this screening process for years, but it recently made headlines in the UK when Buzzfeed News wrote about a man who discovered the rule after being notified he couldn’t say he was a member of the Labour Party on his profile.
Activist Patrick Cash spoke with Buzzfeed about Scruff’s well-intentioned, but ultimately-flawed ban on the word “party,” offering some alternative suggestions to help the gay community stay healthy.
“To censor a word does not stop people using drugs in potentially harmful ways. If there is an appetite, then it will usually out, despite how it is policed,” Cash said.
“I would like to see Scruff and other gay hookup apps take a greater interest in the holistic wellbeing of its users, their mental health and self-worth,” he added. “Apps are a pivotal part of our modern gay community and their makers should note that they could create far more good than they currently achieve.”