Grindr has debuted new safety and security features, as well as a guide, to protect users in anti-LGBTQ countries.
The hookup and dating app, popular largely with gay and bi men, will now allow users to unsend messages and photographs from conversations with other users. The feature would allow a user to delete their own messages and pictures from a conversation, removing the content from both user's histories.
Additionally, Grindr will also institute screenshot blocking for conversations, pictures, and profiles, in order to protect users in locations where being LGBTQ is illegal or may put them in danger.
In an additional safety measure, the app has unveiled a "Holistic Security Guide." It defines holistic security as "an approach that integrates digital security, personal safety, and self-care into traditional security management practices."
Released in six languages, the guide provides safety advice for users in anti-LGBTQ places. Advice topics include, "Don’t Post Pictures with Identifiable Features," "Don’t Use Personal Info in Your Grindr Profile," "Avoid Browsing Online via Wi-Fi Hotspot," and "Do A Background Check on Your Date." Self-care tips encourage a healthy diet, STI testing, and the avoidance of substance abuse.
The guide begins with a quotation from the late poet Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”
The online report was assembled by Azza Sultan, associate director of Grindr for Equality, an arm of the app that works toward global LGBTQ equality. In a statement, Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr for Equality, underlined the company's "responsibility" to protect its users.
“We are so proud to introduce these new security features, along with the Holistic Security Guide, as we continue to promote safety and justice for our users around the globe,” Harrison-Quintana said. “We are grateful for the feedback from users and the various organizations and activists around the world who have helped us to continue improving the quality of life for Grindr users.”
In the past, Grindr has been criticized for possibly endangering the safety of its 4.5 million daily users worldwide. Last year, BuzzFeed reported that the app had been sharing the HIV statuses of its users with two third-party vendors; it has since ceased the practice. Reports of queer people being lured through Grindr to dangerous situations also routinely make headlines.
Additionally, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment has raised national security concerns over Chinese ownership of the app. Gaming company Beijing Kunlun bought a majority stake in Grindr, which operates out of West Hollywood, in 2016, and then acquired the entire company in 2017. After pressure from the federal agency, Kunlun announced in May 2019 that it will sell their stake in the company by summer 2020.