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A mobile dating app which is popular among Russia's gay community has reportedly been hacked and blocked in the country just days before the Black Sea coastal town of Sochi plays host to the Winter Olympics.Russian users of Hunters, a hook-up app that's similar to Grindr, were also sent threats that a controversial new Russian law banning so-called "gay propaganda" signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last July would be used to arrest them, according to the chief exec of the developer, Dmitry T.The exec said the following threatening message (in English) was broadcast on Saturday to all Hunters' users in Russia: "You will be arrested and jailed for gay propaganda in Sochi according to Russian Federal Law #135 Sektion 6".Things reportedly escalated on Sunday after Hunters was blocked in and around Sochi, with local users who attempted to log in being informed that their profile would be blocked for a month.
We are not communicating to our users via Facebook and Twitter because these SN [social networks] are not popular in Russia. also asked developers of the better known Grindr app if there was a more general clampdown in Russia but we've yet to receive a reply.
Dmitry T made the claim to gay news and popculture blog that state-sponsored hacking may have been responsible for the block.
Around 72,000 user profiles were deleted throughout Russia, the dev claims.
Hunters boasts just 468 Facebook likes and 15 followers on Twitter so its purported huge presence in Russia appeared curious.
We asked the developers to explain this apparent discrepancy.
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In response, Hunters chief exec Dmitry T reasserted that the stories about the warning were genuine and explained the app's low profile on English-medium and Western social media sites.