As many as 50 to 100 gay men in Morocco may be at risk of abuse and harassment after they were outed on social media.
Three men are confirmed to have been thrown out their homes after their images were taken from location-based dating and hook-up apps, The New York Times reports.
A 21-year-old man has also taken his own life after being outed, Moroccan media outlet Le Desk reports.
The targeted hate campaign began earlier this month when Moroccan transgender Instagram influencer, Naoufal Moussa – also known as Sofia Taloni – took to social media to encourage Moroccan’s to download LGBTQ apps such as Grindr and Planet Romeo in order to identify and expose closeted gay men.
Taloni’s account was later suspended, but the damage was done.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco, where it remains punisable with between six months to three years in prison or a fine. However, the north African nation has developed a relatively widespread underground LGBTQ culture – one which has now been dangerously brought to light.
A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, confirmed to the New York Times that Moussa’s account had been suspended.
“We don’t allow people to out members of the LGBTQ+ community because it puts them at risk,” a spokesperson said.
“We’ve disabled Naoufal Moussa’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, and we’re taking proactive steps to find and remove other content like this.”
Jens Schmidt, CEO of gay dating app Planet Romeo, told PinkNews the company was taking steps to protect users in Morocco.
“We were shocked when we were contacted by the LGBT+ group in Morocco,” Schmidt said.
“We took immediate action by sending a security message to all our 41,000 users in Morocco, we blocked all profiles created from the time this person addressed her users and contacted Facebook to have the group page taken offline.”