Grindr defended sharing users' HIV status with two other companies, saying the gay dating app is a public forum and the companies in question are "highly-regarded software vendors" that are subject to strict terms when it comes to privacy, confidentiality and data security.
The dating app's CTO Scott Chen said in a statement that Grindr has "never, nor will we ever sell personally identifiable user information – especially information regarding HIV status or last test date – to third parties or advertisers."
Chen said that it used the services of the companies in question, Apptimize and Localytics, to "test and optimize how we roll out our platform." However, he reminded Grindr's 3.6 million daily active users that the dating app is a public forum.
Axios reported late Monday that Grindr had stopped sharing users' HIV status with its third-party vendors in response to the controversy.
Grindr's statement came after Buzzfeed reported earlier on Monday that the dating app was sharing users' HIV status and "last tested date" with Apptimize and Localytics, as well as GPS data, phone ID and email.
Analysts expressed concern that this information, taken together, could be used to identify individual users and their HIV status.
HIV activists responded with outrage on Twitter, with some calling on Grindr to pull HIV statuses from the app.
@imstilljosh: @Grindr, PULL the HIV status SECTION off ALL profiles NOW!!! RT please. #GrindrRemoveStatus (Wrong to monetize this data in a huge breach of trust.)