Online Safety and Identity: Navigating Same-Sex Male Social "Dating" Apps and Networks

Giles, Cameron, Ashford, Chris and Brown, Kevin J. (2022) Online Safety and Identity: Navigating Same-Sex Male Social "Dating" Apps and Networks. Information & Communications Technology Law. ISSN 1360-0834 (In Press)

[img] Text
Online Safety Final.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 14 December 2023.

Download (338kB) | Request a copy
Text (Advance online version)
Advance online version.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


For gay, queer and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM), the presence of apps such as Grindr, Scruff, Tinder, Recon, and others have long represented a complex online ecosystem in which identities are formed and constructed in a space intensely governed by social, contractual, and–increasingly–criminal law backed regulation and norms. The publication of the UK Government's Online Safety Bill in late 2020 and revised Bill in March 2022 marked a further legal and policy intervention in regulating online harms to improve safety. It follows other interventions, notably the Criminal Justice and Court Act 2015, which criminalises intimate image sharing in cases where it is done without consent and intends to cause distress. This article draws on original focus group data to examine the navigation of these “Dating” Apps and Networks by their users from a novel perspective arguing that the current legal approach risks both over and under-legislating what is a complex and subtle online ecosystem. It focuses on the construction of identities–the characteristic proxies deployed, management of location-aware features, visuality, and images (re)shared. We seek to provide an essential counterpoint to existing and dominant narratives relating to online safety and identity regulation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dating apps, LGBTQ, MSM, criminal law, identity, online safety
Subjects: G900 Others in Mathematical and Computing Sciences
M200 Law by Topic
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 13:19
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2022 10:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics