The popular hookup app Grindr will soon remove an ethnicity filter that allows users to filter which users show up to them on the service. The company said on June 1 it would remove the filter "in the next update" in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, though the BBC reports that five updates have been released since and the filter remains. Grindr now says the filter will be removed by June 30.
Ethnicity filters are divisive — Users demanded Grindr remove the filter in support of Black Lives Matter, arguing that racial preferences in dating are a form of racism. The move isn't without controversy, though. Many people believe that racial preferences in dating are natural, and based on physical attraction. And some Black users have reported that filtering prevented them from being fetishized by gay white men or being sent racial slurs. But, at the same time, others think it can enforce racism by segregating matches in the app by skin color.
Grindr has previously moved to block discriminatory statements on its service and previously launched a video campaign under the banner "Kindr" discussing sexual racism and other prejudices on the platform. It also ran an LGBTQI+ digital magazine for two years before shuttering it in 2019.
Grindr & China — In a statement to VICE, Grindr attributed the delay in removal to a recent change of ownership — the company's Chinese owners were forced by U.S. regulators to sell off the app. The sale was completed on June 2. CFIUS, or the Committee on Foreign Investments, began investigating Grindr's ownership when it was discovered the app was sharing users' HIV status with other third-party analytics companies, triggering worry that sensitive data could be used as blackmail by Chinese officials.