Duolingo Gives in to Russian Pressure: References to LGBT+ Removed

Duolingo, the popular app for learning foreign languages, has removed references to LGBT+ relationships from the app following a complaint from the Russian media watchdog. Russian users will no longer see sentences like "Ben and Peter love each other," while the company continues to celebrate Pride Month on social media.
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The language app received a letter from the Russian media watchdog stating that Duolingo contained "material promoting non-traditional sexual relationships and LGBT+ propaganda." The app subsequently removed sentences referring to homosexual relationships for Russian users.

At the same time, Duolingo continues to post Pride-related content on social media. For example, its profile picture is adorned with the rainbow flag. "We support LGBTQ+ rights and believe in normalizing LGBTQ+ representation in our content," said a Duolingo spokesperson in a statement to Reuters. "Unfortunately, local laws prohibit us from including certain content in Russia. Duolingo’s mission is to expand access to quality education around the world and we’re committed to maintaining access to our product everywhere that is legal to do so.’’

Since last year, Russia has designated the "international LGBT+ community" as "extremist," placing the community on the same list as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State. Since that classification, Russia has increased pressure on LGBT+ individuals. There have been raids on underground gay bars, and two women had to publicly apologise after a kiss on social media.

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