Grindr has issued an apology and
promised it will work to regain users' trust after it was revealed
that the hookup app for gay and bisexual men had shared sensitive
data with third-party vendors.
BuzzFeed News on Monday reported
that Grindr was sharing sensitive information users choose to include
in their profiles, such as HIV status and “last tested date,”
with two companies, Apptimize and Localytics.
The Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF, which
first identified the issue, said that the two companies were also
given users' GPS data, phone ID and email, making it possible for
them to identify specific users.
Grindr initially defended its actions –
insisting that it was not profiting from the exchange – but later
backed down, announcing that it would no longer share HIV status
information with third parties.
In a video released on Grindr.com, Jack
Harrison-Quintana, vice president of social impact at Grindr,
apologized “for all of the distress that we've caused over the past
Harrison-Quintana also reiterated that
Grindr did not sell the information, but rather the information was
being shared to improve the platform.
“As I mentioned, Grindr has never,
nor would we ever, sell user information, especially about HIV
status. The only people who have access to Grindr user information
are our trusted contractors who help us roll out new features and
deliver relevant messages to our users. They aren’t advertisers.
They’re well-respected companies who take privacy and security as
seriously as we do,” he said.
Harrison-Quintana also promised the
company would “work to rebuild your trust.”