Grindr will remove the controversial race and ethnicity filter from its app, after user feedback and to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
The company posted a message to social media amid the ongoing protests across the US sparked by the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd.
“We will not be silent, and we will not be inactive,” Grindr wrote.
“We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform.
“As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”
Currently, Grindr allows premium users to set “ethnicity” preferences, as well as other age, height and weight criteria.
Online, many users welcomed the filter’s removal, saying it fuels discrimination on the app. However others said it should never have existed and the company had taken too long to remove it.
— Grindr (@Grindr) June 1, 2020
Grindr defends race and ethnicity filter for minority users
Grindr launched the “Kindr” campaign in 2018 in a bid to combat racism on the platform. But then-head of communications Landen Zumwalt said the company wanted user feedback on the filter.
“While I believe the ethnicity filter does promote racist behaviour in the app, other minority groups use the filter because they want to quickly find other members of their minority community,” he said.
This week, Grindr said it would donate to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute and Black Lives Matter and urged others “to do the same if you can.”
The app’s team explained a planned Pride Month initiative would be reworked “in light of the ongoing violence and injustices against our POC family.”
“It’s our responsibility to speak out against the hate and violence that such a vital part of our community continue to face.”
Grindr sold after US government privacy concerns
Earlier this year, Grindr’s majority owner, Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co, announced it would sell the company for over $US600 million.
A US government national security panel’s concerns about the privacy of users’ data reportedly prompted the move.
Grindr’s new owner is San Vicente Acquisition, a group of entrepreneurs and investors in tech, media and telecommunications.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved the sale.
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