LAW360.COM - Aug 15 - Matthew Herrick, who claims Grindr was negligent in failing to stop his ex-boyfriend from using the dating app to stalk and harass him, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a Second Circuit ruling dismissing his lawsuit, claiming Grindr should not be protected as a publisher under the Communications Decency Act. He has filed a petition seeking to revive the case, in which he accuses the app of failing to prevent the harassment despite nearly 50 reports with the company.
FAST COMPANY - Aug 8 - Researchers from the cyber-security company Pen Test Partners found that Grindr, Recon, and Romeo apps allow users to share their general location by displaying their distance from each other. Anyone with basic computing skills could use that information to determine another user's exact location using a method known as trilateration. The researchers created a tool that faked their own location and did all the trilateration calculations automatically, in bulk, allowing them to generate maps of precise user locations for thousands of individuals at a time.
REUTERS - July 28 - Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun is relaunching Grindr's IPO process after it said a U.S. national security panel had dropped its opposition to the plan. Beijing Kunlun was preparing for an IPO (IPO) of Grindr in September, but the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which reviews deals for potential national security concerns, intervened. At the request of U.S. officials, Kunlun that month agreed to sell the dating app. Grindr will be listed on a stock exchange outside China. Beijing Kunlun acquired a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 for $93M and bought out the remainder of the company in 2018.
NPR.ORG - July 28 - Once a mainstay of queer culture, gay dating app Grindr is slipping at representing all aspects of LGBTQ people. NPR's Scott Simon speaks to journalist Mathew Rodriguez about why. He is a former staff writer at Grindr's own news site, Into.
BUZZFEED NEWS - July 18 - Over the last 18 months, Grindr has faced a federal investigation, layoffs, mismanagement, and internal turmoil. Now the app is looking for a new owner. "There was a sequence of unfortunate events that exposed cultural differences, lack of strategic clarity, and internal angst between those who were gay and straight," said one former employee. "And that's what Grindr still is today." However, Grindr said in a statement that its "significant growth" from 3.3M to ~4.5M daily active users was a sign of its "hard work and cooperative efforts of the entire team." Many of Grindr's missteps over the last 18 months can be traced back to the decisions made around its sale to Kunlun Group. Just two years earlier, Grindr had been a steady and profitable 8-year-old company hoping to shed its image as a cisgender gay men's hookup app to become an all-encompassing LGBTQ-focused media destination. But Scott Chen, the new president, chose to focus on the company's hookup past rather than a three-pronged pitch around the main app, Into, and Grindr for Equality that showed Grindr could be a one-stop shop for "everything gay."
BBC - July 5 - The London Pride parade will take place on Saturday 6 July in central London, followed by Black Pride on Sunday 7 July in Hackney. While plenty of people head to Pride to celebrate, recent news events, including the attacks on a lesbian couple on a London bus, show why Pride is still so important for the community. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots - the ceremonial beginning of the LGBT rights movement - and the 10-year anniversary of Grindr. "Online dating and hook-up apps have been an absolute win for the LGBT community," says relationship expert Dr Darcy Sterling. One recent US study suggests that two-thirds of LGBT couples meet online. Another important shift has been the demise of gay bars and LGBT spaces. In just over a decade, from 2006 to 2017, the number of bars, clubs and pubs for LGBT people in London dropped from 125 to 53. Racism within the LGBT community is another issue that is starting to be talked about more openly. Last year, Grindr launched a campaign, Kindr, encouraging its users to be nicer to each other. The legalisation of same-sex marriage in England, Wales and Scotland in 2014 - along with ~20 other countries between 2009 and 2019 - has seen tens of thousands of same-sex couples getting hitched.
NEW YORK TIMES - July 2 - In Mr. Herrick's case, Grindr worked closely with law enforcement and took extensive steps to delete and ban fraudulent accounts, including investigating hundreds of email addresses, profile names and accounts; conducting voluntary daily searches; and searching account profile content for any potential reference to the physical addresses, phone numbers and other relevant information identified by Mr. Herrick and/or law enforcement.
NLTIMES - June 25 - Nearly half of Dutch between the ages of 18 and 34 are active on dating sites or apps like Tinder, Happn and Grindr. Just over half of all Dutch think that getting a date online is just as normal as using more traditional methods, according to a survey among 1K Dutch people by research agency Ipsos, and researched by Rutgers and the Volkskrant. In total, one in five Dutch have an online dating profile. Tinder is the most popular dating app, with 13% of Dutch using it, followed by Happn with 3% and Grindr with 2%.
ALBAWABA - June 4 - Lebanon's decision to block Grindr was slammed on Wednesday by Amnesty International as "a deeply regressive step, and a blow" for the human rights of the local LGBTI community. The app was blocked following an order by the country's telecommunications ministry issued on Friday. A decades-old law in Lebanon punishes sexual relations "contrary to nature" with up to one year in prison.
THEGAYUK - May 28 - After the effective disbanding of its editorial team, Grindr's online magazine, Into has lost millions of visitors. Into was the world's most read LGBT+ news site, topping ~7.5M hits per month according to SimilarWeb, however after it was announced that the site’s editorial team had been let go, the site has lost over 7M monthly visitors.
INDEPENDENT.CO.UK - May 28 - Grindr has been blocked for most users in Lebanon, sparking concern over a widening crackdown on the LGBT+ community in the country. Lebanon has traditionally been seen as more forward-thinking with regards to LGBT+ rights in comparison to the rest of the Middle East. But despite some gains in recent years, the community still faces widespread discrimination.
REUTERS - May 22 - Early last year, Grindr's Chinese owner Beijing Kunlun Tech gave some Beijing-based engineers access to personal information of millions of Americans such as private messages and HIV status, prompting U.S. officials to ask it to sell the dating app. After taking full control of Grindr in January 2018, Beijing Kunlun Tech stepped up management changes and consolidated operations to cut costs and expand operations in Asia. In the process, some of the company's engineers in Beijing got access to the Grindr database for several months. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government panel that scrutinizes foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, worried that Grindr's database may include compromising information about personnel who work in military or intelligence. China's foreign ministry said it was aware of the situation with Grindr and urged the US to allow fair competition and not politicize economic issues. Grindr hired a cyber forensic firm and a third-party auditor at CFIUS’s behest to report on its compliance and to make sure the data was secure. Kunlun kept trying to salvage the Grindr deal until as recently as last week, when it said it would sell it by June next year.
WASHINGTON POST - May 20 - Grindr has received backlash for one blunder after another. The Kunlun Group's buyout of Grindr raised alarm among intelligence experts that the Chinese government might be able to gain access to the Grindr profiles of American users. The app faced scrutiny after reports indicated the app had a security issue that could expose users' precise locations and their HIV status. Also, Scott Chen, the app's straight-identified president, may not fully support marriage equality. "It still feels like an app from 2009," says Brooks Robinson, a 27-year-old marketing professional in Washington." Robinson now prefers meeting people on Scruff. In the past several years, Grindr users have widely reported that spambots and spoofed accounts run rampant. "Grindr made stalking someone a little too easy," says Dave Sarrafian, a 33-year-old artist and barista in LA.
BLOOMBERG - May 14 - Beijing Kunlun Tech, The Chinese owner of Grindr, is required to sell the app by June 2020 under an agreement with US officials who raised national security concerns about the app's ownership. Under the agreement, Beijing Kunlun Tech can't access information about Grindr's users and transmit any sensitive information to any entities based in China.
THE DRUM - Apr 24 - With engagement levels that are twice that of the second most popular platform, Instagram, Grindr is a cash cow with 95% brand awareness in the LGBTQ community. It could be the most valuable media acquisition of 2019. It is likely to sell at a discount given the US government's recent ultimatum and the likelihood that Kunlun will sell it at auction. The LGBTQ market has enormous buying power, boasting ~$100B in the US. If the right media company acquires Grindr and repositions it as the leading LGBTQ media company, the brand could conceivably expand into other businesses. While many in the industry believe the company will sell between $250 - $500M, there is no reason why Grindr couldn't evolve to become a $5 – $10B business.
TORONTO OBSERVER - Apr 14 - "Online discrimination has reached epidemic proportions affecting not only Grindr but other social networks," said Landen Zumwalt, head of communications at Grindr. Unlike Tinder or Bumble, in which both users must consent to a match, Grindr allows users to openly message anyone who is active and physically nearest to them. That opens up avenues for racism and abuse. Last year, Grindr released an awareness campaign called "Kindr" which is is built around education, awareness and specific policy changes.
by Kevin-Jose Da Silva-Vitorino
See full article at Toronto Observer
NBC NEWS - Apr 4 - The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an interagency group led by the Treasury Department that oversees foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies, began investigating Grindr in July 2018 because of concerns about the security of sensitive user data collected by the app, which included the HIV status. Grindr, which has ~3M daily users, was wholly acquired by China's Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. in Jan 2018. The deal immediately caused concern among national security experts who worried that China could harvest sensitive private data from the app for espionage purposes. Kunlun is now trying to sell Grindr under pressure from the Treasury's foreign investment committee over national security concerns. A spokesperson for Grindr declined to comment on the federal committee's investigation and said that the company "never disclosed any user data to the Chinese government nor do they intend to. Scott Chen was named Grindr's CTO shortly after the app's sale to Kunlun. He is currently president of Grindr. On July 3, 2018, Chen informed three Grindr employees that Yiming Shao, an HIV researcher for China's equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was interested in working with Grindr. To facilitate this project, Chen wrote an email to the employees that suggested putting a full-time "intern" in Grindr's West Hollywood, California, headquarters to do research and work on a paper about HIV prevention that would be co-published with the company. "They are attracted by our brand, reach and data," Chen wrote in the email. "We need to be extremely careful about their data request. Yiming is head of HIV prevention in China CDC. We can't let people say this is about 'sharing user data with the Chinese government." Company employees believed that putting a person from Shao's team in Grindr's headquarters would put user data at risk.
SCMP - Apr 1 - Beijing-based Kunlun, which has owned gay dating app Grindr since 2016, say it is communicating with the US regarding its ownership. It has yet to reach any agreement with US authorities (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US - CFIUS) in response to reports that the firm has been forced to sell Grindr amid concerns that its ownership constitutes a national security risk. In August, Kunlun started preparations for an IPO. The CFIUS intervention, however, would put an end to that process.