What does Grindr’s acquisition by a Chinese company mean for users?

grindr acquisition privacy
At the beginning of 2018, Grindr officially became a Chinese-owned app. The popular gay dating service, which boasts 3.3 million daily users, has been a mainstay on the romance scene for the LGBT community for the last seven years. For the last two of those years, China-based tech firm Kunlun Group has been the app’s majority investor — and now, it has full ownership.

But this recent move has a few intelligence officials and China experts rather concerned about what this could mean for users and their privacy. As initially reported by the Washington Post, the recent buy-out could mean the Chinese government would be able to “demand sensitive and embarrassing details on the lives of millions of non-Chinese citizens.”

China already has a history of maintaining stringent controls over apps and web services throughout the country, and has often banned communication apps that don’t follow its strict rules and regulations. Not only are social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter inaccessible, but so too are apps like WhatsApp and, most recently, Skype. But aside from controlling citizens’ access to certain services, China is also purportedly collecting information on both citizens and foreigners alike.

“What you can see from Chinese intelligence practices is a clear effort to collect a lot of personal information on a lot of different people, and to build a database of names that’s potentially useful either for influence or for intelligence,” said Peter Mattis, a former U.S. government intelligence analyst and China fellow at the Jamestown Foundation. “Then later, when the party-state comes into contact with someone in the database, there’s now information to be pulled,” he said.

Increasingly, the U.S. government is becoming wary of Chinese acquisition of American companies. In fact, at the beginning of the year, an American panel rejected the buyout of MoneyGram International by Alibaba subsidiary Ant Financial, citing national security concerns.

That said, Grindr’s vice president of marketing, Peter Sloterdyk, told the Post that “the privacy and security of users’ personal data is a top priority for Grindr, which employs state-of-the-art technical means to protect user data over 190 countries.” He also added that the app has “never disclosed any user data to the Chinese government nor does it intend to do so.”

All the same, it’s unclear what the relationship is between the Chinese government and its large international companies, so for the time being, we still don’t have a concrete sense of what the Kunlun acquisition means for Grindr users. And that might be cause for concern in and of itself.


Nokia phones are being investigated for allegedly sending data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.

Browse safely and securely with Opera’s unlimited VPN on Android

Opera has added a new VPN to its Android browser, offering an easy way to keep your privacy and data locked up solid, and with no limits on usage or cost, you can keep it on all the time.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Huawei has a bold Plan B should tensions affect its software relationships

Huawei has its own software for smartphones and computers prepared, should its relationship with Google and Microsoft be adversely affected by ongoing tensions between it and the U.S..
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.