Grindr Has Been Selling Sensitive User Data For Years

Posted May 2, 2022 by with 7 comments

If you weren’t catfished by psychopathic bigots trying to kill you or deranged teens looking to rob you, Grindr was still finding a way to make your life hell and profit off your private information for several years. This is according to a bombshell report out today in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ story is behind a paywall, but here’s a summary from Engadget (read in full here):

Grindr’s past willingness to share sensitive data may have been more problematic than previously thought. The Wall Street Journal understands precise Grindr user location data was collected from the online ad network MoPub (once owned by Twitter) and put on sale through its partner company UberMedia (now UM) since “at least” 2017.

An anonymous former senior employee speaking to the Journal claims Grindr initially didn’t believe sharing location data with marketers posed privacy issues. Ad execs reportedly told the company that real-time bidding, or displaying ads based on a user’s immediate location, was transforming the industry.

Grindr told the Journal in a statement that its 2020 policy change meant it shared less data with advertisers than “any of the big tech platforms” and most dating app rivals, although it didn’t address historical info.

Catholic publication The Pillar said it used sold Grindr data to track usage and ultimately oust a senior church official.

The US forced Grindr’s Chinese owner Kunlun to sell the company by mid-2020, in part over worries China’s government might misuse personal info for American citizens.

The company’s own practices were also under scrutiny at the time. It reportedly shared HIV statuses with app optimization firms, and Kunlun’s Chinese engineers had access to a database of sensitive info for months.


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