Grindr to Stop Sharing Users’ HIV Status With Other Companies After Criticism

Grindr users can declare their HIV status and when they were most recently tested as a part of the app

Gay dating apps Scruff, Hornet, and Grindr are displayed for a photograph on an Apple Inc. iPhone in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Gay dating app Grindr is in hot water after it was revealed Monday the app is sharing information about users' HIV status with two private companies.

Grindr users can declare their HIV status and when they were most recently tested as a part of the app.

Grindr chief technology officer Scott Chen wrote in a Tumblr post that sharing the information is an "industry practice" and that two companies, Apptimize and Localytics, are meant to optimize the apps’ user experience.

"As a company that serves the LGBTQ community, we understand the sensitivities around HIV status disclosure," Chen said.

"Our goal is and always has been to support the health and safety of our users worldwide."

The app’s chief security officer, Bryce Case announced that Grindr will no longer share the data and told BuzzFeed News, “I will not admit fault in the regard that the data was used.”

Joel Simkhai, the man behind Grindr, was born in Tel Aviv, the middle son of a diamond-dealer father and jewelry-seller mother, and he speaks fluent Hebrew with a heavy American accent.

He says that when he conceived of Grindr, he was simply trying to answer a need. I never thought it would turn into something global, and I never thought of it as a way to make a living. It was just that as a gay man, you always want to know who else around you is gay, he says.