Grindr has changed its privacy settings and removed the ‘Explore’ option to protect the LGBTQ+ athletes competing at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Although China decriminalised homosexuality in 1997, there is still very little protection for LGBTQ+ people today.
The decision was made based on the fear that LGBTQ+ athletes would face being outed through Grindr, persecuted or harassed as reported by Bloomberg. During last years much anticipated 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, some users took advantage of the ‘Explore’ feature on the app to browse through the Olympic Village and expose the profiles of queer athletes competing in the games on social media.
A TikTok surfaced last year with the user saying “I used Grindr’s Explore feature to find myself an Olympian boyfriend” as they scrolled through the profiles that were located in the Village. The video was later removed for violating TikTok community guidelines but the aftermath of its unwarranted attention has influenced Grindr to revise its privacy settings for this year’s games.
People who are located in or near the Olympic Village will be able to use Grindr throughout the duration of the Olympic games but their profiles will not be visible worldwide. Users logging into Grindr will now receive an on-screen notification that reads “Your privacy is important to us. Our Explore feature has been disabled in the Olympic Village so that people outside your immediate area can’t browse here.”
Let the games begin! Grindr, the gay hookup app, has adjusted its privacy settings for the Beijing Olympics Village, a move it says is designed to protect the world’s top athletes from persecution or harassment https://t.co/td2YkWiFdn via @bbgequality @bpolitics #Beijing2022 pic.twitter.com/ZoQQd4bbF3
— Colum Murphy (@Colum_M) February 8, 2022
According to the director of Grindr for Equality Jack-Harrison-Quintana, “We want Grindr to be a space where all queer athletes, regardless of where they’re from, feel confident connecting with one another while they’re in the Olympic Village.”
This is the first time Grindr has taken this action for the Olympic games, however, the app has disabled the ‘Explore’ option in the past for countries where being queer is illegal or considered unsafe.
Last year, the app was fined a whopping €6.5m for sharing personal information.
© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.