Facebook dating app: Grindr says tech giant doesn’t understand needs of LGBT people

Gay dating apps

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Tuesday that the tech giant would be rolling out its very own dating app soon, but gay dating leader Grindr is unimpressed.

Zuckerberg introduced the new opt-in feature during Facebook’s developers conference in San Jose, California.

The CEO reminisced on the couples who had met on the network since its 2006 launch, saying: “These are some of the moments that I’m really proud of what we’re doing. I know that we’re making a positive difference in people’s lives.”

As the conference took place so soon after of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that revealed millions of Facebook users’ data had been breached, Zuckerberg assured the dating app had been designed “with privacy and safety in mind from the beginning.”

Facebook’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, explained the dating profile would be separate from users’ everyday profiles and that personal information would only be visible to other users on the app, not regular users who don’t partake in the dating feature.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose. (Justin Sullivan/Getty)

Gay dating app Grindr, which counts more than three million daily users, told PinkNews in a statement that they “applaud Facebook’s move into the dating space.” But there’s a catch.

Grindr noted the social media giant might struggle to meet the needs of an LGBT audience.

We are unsure if the platform truly understands the needs of the LGBTQ community particularly in areas of the world where LGBTQ people face tremendous amounts of violence, “said Grindr executive vice chairman Wei Zhou.

Grindr offered to be “a resource for Facebook as they enter a space we’ve existed in for almost a decade,” Zhou continued.

Grindr launched in 2009 and is the most popular dating app among gay men in the world.

While introducing Facebook’s own app, Zuckerberg mentioned it would focus more on creating long-term relationships than hook-ups, which is what Grindr has become known for.

Hook-up apps (Leon Neal/Getty)

The news was met with mixed reactions by other dating giants such as Match Group – Tinder and OKCupid’s parent company – and Bumble.

Both welcomed the news although Match group CEO Mandy Ginsberg was surprised by the timing of the announcement “given the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”

Match Group’s shares dropped by 22 percent following Zuckerberg’s announcement on Tuesday, the hardest single-day drop in the group’s history.  

A spokesperson for Bumble said the app could “join forces to make the connecting space even more safe and empowering.”