PINKNEWS - May 21 - The study by Northwestern University, and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that 50% of teenage boys aged 14 - 17 are using apps like Grindr to look for more than just sex. The research was carried out using online surveys completed by 200 sexually experienced teenage boys in the US. The study also concluded that teenage boys using apps Grindr and Scruff are more likely to access sexual health services, like HIV testing.
BLOOMBERG - Apr 5 - Gay dating app Grindr sent sensitive user data including HIV status, location and email to at least two third-party services. Grindr said the data sharing is "standard" in the industry and pointed out the company considers its app a "public forum." Grindr also suggested that if users didn't want their data being shared with these companies, they shouldn't have volunteered it. "It's important to remember that Grindr is a public forum," CTO Chen said in the statement.
VOX - Apr 4 - A gay psychiatrist went on Grindr to survey men. He asked them why they're on the app how it's affecting their relationships and mental health. The most common reason users gave for going on the app is sex. Though there is this new attention to sexual health, both Grindr and the research community have been silent on mental health. Yet since 2007, more gay men have died from suicide than from HIV. Grindr may provide men with some relief from their anxiety and depression. But it's temporary. Not all Grindr users are addicted and depressed, of course. Some users use Grindr in a healthy, positive way.
LOS ANGELES TIMES - Apr 3 - Grindr will stop sharing users' HIV statuses with third parties after a report disclosed that the company passed the information on to two vendors. Grindr's vendors, Apptimize and Localytics, were fed user data that includes HIV statuses, GPS data, phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 2 - Grindr is under fire again for inappropriate sharing of HIV status with advertisers and inadequate security on other personal data transmission. Norwegian research outfit SINTEF analyzed the app's traffic and found that HIV status, which users can choose to include in their profile, is included in packets sent to Apptimize and Localytics, services for testing and improving mobile apps. The company's CTO said that "the limited information shared with these platforms is done under strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy." Also, the SINTEF researchers found that precise GPS position, gender, age, ethnicity, relationship status, language and others are sent over HTTP to a variety of advertising companies.
NBC NEWS - Mar 28 - Grindr suffers from two security issues, according to Trever Faden, CEO of the property management startup Atlas Lane. He created a website called C*ckblocked that allowed users to see who blocked them on Grindr after they entered their Grindr username and password. Once they did so, Faden was able to gain access to a trove of user data that is not publicly available on user profiles, including unread messages, email addresses, deleted photos, and the location data of users, some of whom have opted to not share their locations publicly. Faden also discovered a separate security flaw related to location data that did not require users to log in to any third-party apps or websites with their Grindr credentials. Grindr said it was aware of the vulnerabilities and had changed its system. This is not the first time that issues with Grindr's security around location data has been reported.
NEW YORK TIMES - Mar 26 - Grindr, which claims to have 3.3M daily users, will send men who opt into the service a reminder every three to six months, and simultaneously point them to the nearest testing site. It will also let clinics, gay community centers and other testing sites advertise for free. "More than 107k gay and bisexual men in this country have H.I.V. but don't know it", said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, chief of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "And there is typically a three-year gap between the day they get infected and the day they find out."
PINKNEWS - Mar 19 - A massive loophole in Grindr's code is allowing guys to see exactly who has blocked them on the app according to developer Trever Faden. He says that the app currently attaches an invisible list of restricted profiles to each user's account, so the app knows not to display guys to someone that has blocked them. With a little effort it's possible to retrieve the list of user IDs from the code. Faden has since built a web tool called 'C**kblocked' that lets people sign into their Grindr accounts and see the list for themselves.
LEXOLOGY - Mar 16 - The lawsuit was dismissed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which continues to act as one of the strongest legal protections for social media companies. The case involved a dispute between Grindr and an individual who was maliciously targeted through the platform by his former lover. Plaintiff Herrick alleged that his ex-boyfriend set up several fake profiles on Grindr that claimed to be him. Over a thousand users responded to the impersonating profiles. Herrick's ex‑boyfriend, pretending to be Herrick, would then direct the men to Herrick's work-place and home and telling them that he had certain rape fantasies. The impersonating profiles were reported to Grindr (the app's operator), but Herrick claimed that Grindr did not respond, other than to send an automated message. When Congress enacted Section 230 of the CDA in 1996, it sought to provide protections that would permit online services to thrive without the threat of crippling civil liability for the bad acts of its users. Over 20 years since its passage, the Act has indisputably served that purpose.
SPUTNIK NEWS - Mar 16 - Dating app Grindr has been found to be sharing users' immune status with an external company in a possible violation of EU rules, prompting indignation across Scandinavia. The Norwegian Consumer Council is considering reporting the dating app, national broadcaster NRK reported. An investigation carried out in collaboration between national Swedish broadcaster SVT and the Norwegian research institute SINTEF, presenting itself as "Scandinavia's largest independent research company," found out that the sensitive data the users submit about themselves, including age, sexual preferences, gender and, most importantly, HIV status, is being transmitted unencrypted. Therefore, the deeply personal information can be easily accessed by computer buffs. Additionally, the information about the users HIV status is being shared with an external company headquartered in the US. At present, common EU legislation imposes requirements about the protection of and handling of personal data once it is moved outside of Europe.
SLATE.COM - Feb 28 - With Grindr and other queer platforms, the burden of keeping safe shouldn't fall solely on users. In late September, Egyptian authorities began a crackdown against the country's queer communities after fans of Mashrou' Leila, an outspoken Lebanese indie rock group with an openly gay band member, displayed a rainbow flag at the group's concert in Cairo. To find and arrest their targets, security forces, among other tactics, created fake profiles on queer dating apps like Grindr and Hornet. The app creators should be responsible for protecting their users. The majority of dating apps don't transmit pictures securely. All of the major dating apps, too, are able to access messages stored on company servers, meaning their contents could be compromised in the event of a government request or, if stored insecurely, in the event of a data breach. To try to protect themselves, users often turn to software that only partially addresses privacy and security issues. But VPNs won't hide a user's location from a dating app, which relies on a phone's built-in GPS sensor for its geolocation features. What's more, in countries that have banned these kinds of tools, downloading or using certain known VPNs or circumvention software might land a user under increased scrutiny. Grindr and Hornet began providing safety info&tips in Arabic to inform users about risks but without implementing changes to protect them too - say, eliminating watermarked app logos on photos, which have been used as evidence in court and blackmail attempts.
by Norman Shamas
See full article at Slate.com
VCSTAR - Feb 27 - Provisional data shows 70 new local cases of HIV were diagnosed in 2017, public health officials said at a meeting of an HIV/AIDS Coalition of Ventura County, Calif. In 2016, there were 35. A year before that, there were 32. The surge has continued into February, said Lynn Bartosh, AIDS surveillance coordinator for the Ventura County Public Health Department. "The number of new cases has heightened," she said. "Most of them talk about Grindr." There are other dating apps, too. Use of hookup dating apps that turns into unprotected sex is not the only reason for the HIV surge but is part of it, said Sal Fuentes, coalition chairman and HIV/AIDS prevention advocate. A 2016 study from UCLA researchers suggested Grindr can be used as a platform for getting tested. Researchers advertised free HIV self-test kits on the site to LA men on the app for a month. ~300 men requested the test.
PRWEEK - Feb 27 - When Peter Sloterdyk joined Grindr as VP of global marketing, the app had just under 3M daily active users and is now creeping its way toward 4M. Sloterdyk explains the main issue was that Grindr was considered to be mainly a gay hookup app. While this assumption is not completely incorrect, the brand wants people to know it is that, but also "so much more." "Over the past year, Grindr has launched a gay emoji keyboard to help users communicate in a way they are already using in their lives. It also unveiled Into, an online magazine, to provide people with information, editorial content, and stories with global perspectives. The brand is also continuing its Slumbr event series, a 36-hour party that helps people "experientially connect with Grindr and see us in a different way," Sloterdyk says. Sloterdyk is also changing up Grindr's marketing strategy for India and its surrounding countries to ensure the brand has an on-the-ground presence there.
OPW - Feb 20 - Every year we take a look at who scored the most press summaries on Online Personals Watch. We look for top tier news and summarize what we think is most interesting to you, our audience of Internet dating industry leaders, app designers and marketers.
#1 Tinder (123 posts published on OPW last year)
#2 Bumble (48 posts)
#3 eHarmony (42)
#4 Match Group (41)
#5 Match (37)
#6 OKCupid (37)
#7 Grindr (34)
#8 Happn (22)
#9 The League (21)
#10 Matrimony.com (17)
FORBES - Feb 14 - According to Ogury study, Sunday night is Grindr night in the U.K.; in the U.S., women appear to be swiping hard on MeetMe on Saturday, while men step up their MeetMe usage on Sunday. The only day of the week that both seem to be on the same page was Monday, with both hitting POF. Internationally, Thursday is the most popular day with 27 minutes and 32 seconds spent on dating apps across all tracked platforms. Most uninstalls of all dating apps happen on the first day. Grindr had the lowest first day delete rate. Women seemed to keep MeetMe around a bit longer, deleting that on the second day.
MILEHIGHGAYGUY - Feb 12 - Grindr has released its new "Explore" feature that lets users browse and connect with people anywhere in the world. Grindr users can use Explore to see who's out there, but contacting, tapping or favoriting people elsewhere will require a subscription to Grindr XTRA, the app's paid service.
GAY STAR NEWS - Feb 6 - A postgraduate student has published evidence showing gay dating apps Grindr and Jack'd have a major data flaw that could allow hackers to steal users' personal data. Jason Chao says he can prove the apps are not encrypting data sent to third party advertisers. This allows anyone to intercept the data transfer, and steal it. 'I am not the first one to discover Grindr and Jack'd being leaky. Researchers at a Japanese university were the first ones to point out the issue of both apps sending unencrypted data to third-party advertisers. However, they only saw evidence of device models and carrier names being susceptible to hackers. But in my study, I also found personal data is accessible too.'
LAW360 - Jan 25 - A New York federal judge has tossed the bulk of a lawsuit accusing dating app Grindr of lacking safety features that would have prevented a "malicious" impersonation scheme by an ex-boyfriend, saying Grindr isn't responsible for users' behavior.
GAY TIMES - Jan 15 - Time Well Spent have conducted some new research which polled 200k iPhone users about their app usage. Their main objective was to find out which apps left users feeling the most happy or unhappy. Mindfulness apps like Calm and Headspace ranked highly when it came to the apps which left users feeling most happy. Google Calendar, MyFitnessPal and Audible also placed highly on the list. However, gay dating app Grindr topped the list of apps which left users feeling unhappy. 77% of Grindr users feel miserable after using the app. Candy Crush Saga placed second with 71%, while Facebook is in the third with 64%. Time Well Spent has suggested that it's not necessarily the Grindr that is making users unhappy, but rather the amount of time they spend on it. Those who said that Grindr left them feeling unhappy admitted that they used the app for more than an hour everyday.