Grindr CEO: We’re very proud of users in countries where being gay is illegal

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai has said he is “very proud” that the app has users in countries where homosexuality is illegal.

The founder of the hook-up app, which allows gay men to see and talk to others nearby, has been a global success – even in countries like Russia, Iran, and Afghanistan, where homosexuality is illegal.

Mr Simkhai – one of the original creators of the app – said he was “very proud” that the app was used to facilitate marginalised gay communities.

Speaking to Bloomberg, he said: “It all happened organically. It’s illegal to be gay in over 70 countries in this world.

“Grindr in a lot of places is the unique place for gay men to meet eachother. There’s no gay bars, there’s no gay life.

“We’re very proud of that.”

The app has previously come under scrutiny for its location feature – which can be used to manually triangulate the exact location of men in potentially-unsafe countries for gay people.

Grindr responded to criticism by disabling the ability to see exact distances in countries where the gay community might be targeted by law enforcement or homophobic vigilantes.

Explaining the app’s appeal, Mr Simkhai added: “It’s a very big problem in a gay man’s life. We don’t always know who else is gay.

“The smartphone was a perfect piece of technology, location-based services was a perfect match. It just kind of worked out together.

“We had no business plan, and no real understanding of what happened. It just kind of happened!

“We provide a great service, and that’s what it’s all about. We’re all about our customers, all about giving them an experience that’s helpful for them, and we solve a problem.”

It was claimed last year that police in Egypt were using fake accounts on the app to “hunt” gay men.

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