Grindr Removes ‘ethnicity Filter’ After Complaints

The Meet Me function works like Tinder, with the option to swipe left or right to quickly scan through profiles . When you sign in, a Who’s Chatting Now counter shows you the tens of thousands of conversations happening at that moment, although what qualifies as chatting isn’t defined. Our other Editors’ Choice, Tinder, is geared more toward the hookup scene, so it prioritizes photos during sign-up. Plenty of Fish is the dating app for singles who don’t want to dip too far into their wallets to make a connection. Long before the internet, dating would have been tied to the bars you went to, the church or temple you worshipped at, the families and friends you socialised with on the weekends; all often bound to racial and economic biases. Online dating has done a lot to break barriers, but it has also carried on many outdated ways of thinking.

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With widespread protests across America and the country engaging in a painful discussion about race, Grindr now says it will drop the function the next time that it updates its app. It made the announcement on Twitter yesterday—“We will not be silent. Black Lives Mater,” the tweet begins—a message that many saw as tone deaf. Purposefully avoiding certain ethnicities because you don’t even want the prospect of dating them is a fundamentally horrifying perspective. However, the use of these filters shows far more than meets the eye.

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“OkCupid have initiated a BLM hashtag so that people can add it to their profile and Bumble has also added a BLM filter,” says Stephanie about some of the recent changes to the spaces that she’s been using. There are signs that nudging users towards a wider range of ethnicities does have an impact. Other research suggests that online dating could increase rates of interracial marriage. One US dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel, found itself at the centre of this debate in 2016. The app works by serving up users a single partner (a “bagel”) each day, which the algorithm has specifically plucked from its pool, based on what it thinks a user will find attractive.

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The app is also considering the removal of options that allow users to filter potential dates by race. The authors of a new book are arguing for race-blind dating apps — and the removal of filters for race and ethnicity. The upshot here is that algorithmic filtering can override individual preference, even when such preference is explicitly stated, because the preferences of users collectively might form better predictions of successful matches. In other words, the algorithm makes predictions based on implicit aggregate data rather than explicit individual data, as if it can predict your preferences better than you do. Queer dating app Grindr has announced it will remove its ethnicity filter available to premium users as a response to the developments over the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Tinder lets you match with people beyond just who’s nearby. Meanwhile, Facebook Dating takes advantage of fellow Facebook services such as Messenger and the experimental Tuned app for quarantined couples. But it shouldn’t be the responsibility of people of color to break this down for aggressors. While all three SeniorSizzle premium of the apps now have zero-tolerance policies and racism doesn’t run quite as rampant as it used to, people have been complaining about the obviously-discriminatory ethnicity filter for years. Instead of removing it when people first began calling it out in 2015 and 2016, Grindr just made it a paid feature.

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Grindr has come under fire for its ethnicity filter in the past, but some say removing it will “further erase them”. While relatively small, EME Hive is working hard to be the new and trendy Asian dating app in the United States. With good results out of the gate, there is definitely a lot of promise here. However, the site is still fairly new and fairly small , which means it still has some work to do in order to move up on our rankings list. Additionally, EME has taken some heat for some of its marketing campaigns and it’s identity, but we’ll leave that for another discussion on another day.