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Grindr still hasn’t removed its ethnicity filter, despite promises

After several updates, the controversial filter remains on the app, which pledged to remove it in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Earlier this month (June 1) the dating app Grindr claimed that it would remove its ethnicity filter during the next update, as part of its alleged support for the Black Lives Matter movement. However, almost a month later, the “advanced filter” still hasn’t been deleted from the app, continuing to let users sort their search results by ethnicity.

This comes despite five updates to Grindr since June 1, including one just two days after the filter’s removal was announced.

In the wake of announcing the removal of the filter – and then seemingly failing to follow through on the promise – the dating app has been criticised by users, who suggest that it was just using the Black Lives Matter movement for “positive PR” (a criticism levelled at many other brands and celebrities in recent weeks).

“It's like Grindr lied, just to jump on Black Lives Matter,” one user tells the BBC.

While Grindr has donated proceeds from merch to a charity aiding the Black trans community, The Okra Project, in the past month, and featured Black Lives Matter imagery prominently on its social media, it is yet to respond to people addressing the ongoing ethnicity filter issue on social media.

In a 2018 interview with the Guardian, Grindr’s former head of PR, Landen Zumwalt, admits to believing that “the ethnicity filter does promote racist behaviour in the app,” although he ultimately defends it, adding: “other minority groups use the filter because they want to quickly find other members of their minority community.”

Previous efforts to review language around “sexual racism, transphobia, fat and femme shaming” on the platform, via the 2018 Kindr initiative, have also resulted in very little change. 

As a result, critics have questioned whether Grindr’s removal of the ethnicity filter (even if it was implemented when developers said it would be) is doing enough to combat discrimination on the app.