Dating app Grindr has announced that it will remove its controversial “ethnicity filter” when it’s next updated.
The app currently lets users filter potential matches based on age, height, weight, and ethnicity using a tick-list of “my type” preferences. In a post on Instagram, the tech company said: “We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform.”
It added: “As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”
Grindr is one of many companies that have issued #BlackLivesMatter statements in the wake of widespread protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd. Previously, the company had tweeted a now-deleted post, which read: “Demand justice. #BlackLivesMatter”. But the post was accused of hypocrisy, with many users demanding the removal of the ethnicity filter.
Back in 2018, Grindr’s former head of PR, Landen Zumwalt, had defended the feature in an interview with the Guardian, saying: “While I believe the ethnicity filter does promote racist behaviour in the app, other minority groups use the filter because they want to quickly find other members of their minority community.”
Some Grindr users have welcomed the removal of the filter, while others have accused the app of doing the “bare minimum”, pointing out that the platform is yet to take measures for user’s who post derogatory ethnicity preferences in their bios.
The platform’s 2018 Kindr initiative claimed to review discriminatory language surrounding “sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming”, but resulted in very little change.
Recently, video sharing app TikTok has also been under fire for censoring the profiles of black creators. In response, users partook in a one-day ‘black out’ on the app, in which they changed their profile pictures to the black power symbol, only followed and liked content from black creators, and urged non-black allies to avoid posting videos that day.
You can read our ongoing list of anti-racism resources here.