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Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds. Enter your email address Continue Continue Please enter an email address Email address is invalid Fill out this field Email address is invalid Email already exists. I would like to receive the best features and trends across the world of lifestyle every week by email. Update newsletter preferences. Comments Share your thoughts and debate the big issues. Join the discussion. I think what this whole incident shines a light on is just how important the identity and personal beliefs of the tech company leaders really are in This is another instance that speaks to how important the personal beliefs of the leaders of these companies: When your personal beliefs are not in alignment with the community that you're serving, it can lead you to make choices with very significant and sometimes very harmful decisions for that community.
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To bring it back to Grindr, they chose to sell or to give away HIV data of their members to advertisers. You have to ask yourself, "Had that community been owned by a company or led by a company that had gay men at the helm or queer men and women at the helm, would they have made the same decision and been able to perceive the consequences to their community a bit better? Tell me more about how Scruff pursues a business model, and I guess an approach to technology, that's different from some of the tech companies you mentioned.
There's a trope running around Silicon Valley right now that tech executives don't use the products that they're building We here at Scruff absolutely do. That manifested in the decision we made this year to get rid of all programmatic advertising from our app, and to forgo any kind of data integration with Facebook.
We're the only gay app — and I believe we are the only dating app, or certainly the only major dating app — who can stand here today and say that. We do not share the data of our members with third-party companies.
Can you explain what programmatic advertising is, in plain speak? We ripped out banner ads.
The banner ads, they're terrible, they look bad. They're annoying, they're scammy, they're spamming. They're extracting data about you and shuttling it all over the internet. So why are they called "programmatic? In that instant, you have advertisers who are bidding on that impression. These advertisers want their ads to reach different people, and some of them want to specifically reach gay men. In this kind of real-time moment that resembles a stock exchange, advertisers see that you're using, in this case, Grindr.
They can see that, and they can run an ad they think is appropriate to show you. This phenomenon was sold to us in the early days as a way to show people more relevant ads. Well, the issue now is that data doesn't just stop with the advertisers anymore — you can easily envision scenarios where that data about your usage of Grindr includes your listed HIV status. Now, that's a very scary and — arguably — dystopian scenario. But it's one that's become increasingly discussed and is part of the reason why the European government passed a very strict privacy law this year.
When reached for comment about programmatic advertising, a spokesperson for Grindr offered the following: Grindr has never sold nor will we ever sell personal user information to third parties or advertisers. It is also worth noting that our primary revenue stream is through subscriptions. Do you believe in good faith the claims that Grindr made back in April, that they were actually going to stop allowing advertisers to receive access to users' HIV statuses?
I think every gay man who chooses to use Grindr should look at the facts and should look at their history of decision-making. I think that people have very good reason to be deeply skeptical of that company in particular There is a reckoning coming for all of these technology companies and platforms that are making business decisions without considering [their] moral implications. In that sense, it's interesting that Grindr has been running a campaign called "Kindr," or other social awareness campaigns that have been trying to shed a spotlight on members of the community who are typically disenfranchised on the platform.
This kind of dating discrimination or sexual discrimination that happens on Grindr is certainly not unique to them; it also happens on Scruff. What kind of initiatives are you guys working on to make sure that Scruff is a safer place in the same way that Grindr has? I am pleased that our industry, more broadly, is shining a light on the issue of racism and sexual discrimination.
I think if you look closely at what Grindr announced back in September, you will note that there are no actual differences in the app from the day before to the day after. That doesn't mean that there isn't more we can do, which is why this year, Scruff became the first gay dating app, and I believe possibly the first just overall dating app, to actually remove ethnicity as a default from our profile.
When you launch Scruff right now today, ethnicity is not listed on any profile. It can still be included if you choose to as a member, but it is not listed by default. I can tell you that that change has been well-received by our community, and there have been no negative repercussions thus far, but we didn't just stop there. We have also been analyzing profiles here in the United States that include racial language, both "I don't date" and "I only date We've started looking at our profiles that include this kind of language and begun some initial tests where we actually send in-app notifications to profiles that include racial language and invite them to take a moment and to consider how that language affects other people.
It's not a warning — we do not imply that they have violated anything.https://europeschool.com.ua/profiles/ledetem/17-de-marzo.php
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It really is about taking a moment to consider the ramifications of your words in the same way that a close friend of yours, a brother or a sister, might when they see you perhaps saying something carelessly. It aims at educating users on behaviors that are not allowed within our platform, and it makes it easier for users to submit reports. We are also actively working to update our new user onboarding experience which will guide new members through their first steps of using Grindr, highlighting the importance of positive behavior when communicating with others in our platform. So you said, just to clarify, that you guys don't send a warning, but it's more of an invitation for them to reconsider language used in their profiles.