Twitter suspends Grindr from ad network over privacy concerns

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Twitter suspended Grindr from its ad network on Tuesday after a study alleged that the world’s most popular gay dating app shared personal data with marketing partners without notifying users.

A spokesperson from the social media network confirmed to The Hill that it is “currently investigating this issue to understand the sufficiency of Grindr’s consent mechanism.”

While that investigation unfolds, Grindr’s account on the Twitter ad inventory manager MoPub will be disabled, according to the spokesperson.

Grindr was one of 10 dating and health apps singled out in a report from the Norwegian Consumer Council, a government-funded nonprofit organization in Oslo. The report alleges that the apps shared user data in a way that violates privacy laws, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Companies can be fined up to 4 percent of their yearly revenue for violations of the GDPR. 

The report alleges that Grindr transmitted data on its more than three million users – including IP addresses, gender, age and location data – to more than a dozen companies, including MoPub.

The Norwegian Consumer Council filed a formal complaint against Grindr over the alleged privacy violations, as well as against MoPub, which the report alleges “was used as a mediator for much of this data sharing.”

The Hill has reached out Grindr for comment on the allegations in the report and on being suspended by MoPub.

Nine consumer groups on Tuesday sent a letter to Congress, the Federal Trade Commission and the state attorneys general of California, Texas and Oregon urging the regulators to investigate the allegations made in the report.

“Consumers cannot avoid being tracked by these apps and their advertising partners because they are not provided with the necessary information to make informed choices when launching the apps for the first time,” the groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Public Citizen, wrote.

“In addition, consumers are unable to make an informed choice because the extent of tracking, data sharing, and the overall complexity of the adtech ecosystem is hidden and incomprehensible to average consumers.”


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