This weekend I happened upon a conversation regarding the hookup app Grindr. I was making my usual rounds in a few private, gay mens’ Facebook groups when someone posted the following:
“I just saw many people getting banned on Grindr. Anyone been banned from Grindr recently?”
Quickly, other Grindr subscribers in the group began to share stories of recently being arbitrarily banned from the app for violating the policies. However, in nearly every instance, the subscribers claimed to have done nothing wrong. They also collectively complained that they were given no reason for the ban despite their attempts to inquire and get reinstated.
One user, David, shared,
“I got banned for no reason, and Grindr doesn’t respond to their emails when you inquire as to why you’re banned.”
Another user, Rocky, shared,
“Yes, I got banned, and never got a reason why.”
Moments later in the thread, a third user named James chimed in,
“I got banded about a month ago and still don’t know why; all I can say is f*ck Grindr!”
Why this is happening is anyone’s guess. Still, some men feel targeted because the bans occurred after they sent another user their nude pics. Juan, a young 20- something, explained that after he sent nudes to another subscriber, he abruptly received a strange message that his account was suspended. It further directed him to go into the Apple Store and cancel his subscription:
Juan claims there was nothing out of the ordinary about the pics he had shared. Just as others have stated, he too was unable to get any assistance or information about the suspension of his account.
Grindr’s entire premise and construct is to meet others for dates, hook-ups, consensual encounters, etc. That’s initiated through the chat feature, which allows sexually explicit photos to be sent privately. So, if that now violates policy, it’s absurd not to inform the site’s subscribers.
The conversation quickly turned to one of speculation. Some of the men in the group claiming censorship, homophobia, or some phobia were the reasons for the suspended accounts. Homophobia seems far-fetched, considering it’s a gay dating app but as Juan shared more of his ordeal, perhaps here was another reason for his suspension,
“My story is that I recently started to dress as a female, and apparently I got blocked for messaging people back. My inbox had been full since September 9th. I can’t control whoever wanted to message me.”
Juan seems to be speculating that maybe there is discrimination on the app against crossdressers, drag queens, or trans community members? Possibly though, if he were messaging multiple people back within a short window of time, his account might have gotten flagged incorrectly as spam account. That has happened. However, if nobody from the app’s customer service department responds to inquiries, how would Juan ever know?
Whereas many group members thought China still owned the app, it was sold to San Vicente Acquisition, a Los Angeles firm, in 2020, just four years after China originally acquired it. With that information, Facebook user Rizzo was determined to find out why the app suspended him without incident and then further blocked his IP address so he could not even make a new account.
According to Rizzo,
“It’s crazy. They banned me and can’t provide a reason. I went on LinkedIn and messaged the new CEO – who is straight. Grindr was bought by 3 straight men. There ya go!”
I reached out to Grindr for comment, and as yet, no response. It’s worth noting that according to user response on the app overall, it has one of the worst global consumer ratings of its genre. Take, for example, the review site Testpilot, where in Australia, the app has 1 star out of 5 and a 91% Bad rating out of 100. Making matters worse, Grinder is increasingly becoming more inundated with fake accounts, catfishing schemes, and solicitations. Not to mention that significant snafu over a year ago when the app was caught peddling users’ private information, including HIV status, to third party tech companies.
Combined with Grindr’s rather audaciously expensive monthly subscription pricing, this all equates to increasing unpopularity. The writing’s on the wall, and a mass exodus from the app is already happening. Gay men are canceling subscriptions and feeling more comfortable with competitors, including Scruff, Manhunt, Prowler, and Hornet.
I have no idea what’s going on in Grindr’s corporate boardroom, but the brand better take notice because it’s just five minutes away from becoming the Myspace of gay dating apps.