Gays, please pretend that you’re not illiterate for a second because you’re going to want to read the following Grindr exposé from service top to bossy bottom.
A new longform feature by BuzzFeed News reporter Ryan Mac explores Grindr’s year-and-a-half long descent from profitable hookup app-turned-multimedia company to an ouroboric company “in tatters.” In the piece, published Friday, Mac speaks with half a dozen former Grindr employees on the condition of anonymity who help him outline the company’s demise since the app’s American founder, Joel Simkhai, sold the company to Chinese social gaming company Kunlun Group.
According to the six former employees, Grindr’s downfall can be traced directly back to two key decisions: Simkhai and Kunlun’s failure to submit the sale of Grindr to a voluntary review by our government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (a.k.a., CFIUS), and the company’s decision to relocate its engineering headquarters from the U.S. to Beijing.
To make a long story short, CFIUS came after Grindr earlier this year, three years after the initial sale to Kunlun, demanding that Kunlun sell Grindr to a company based in the U.S. Their reasoning had a lot to do with the fact that, thanks to Kunlun’s engineering base in Beijing, personal data from Grindr’s 3.6 million daily users at the time (like HIV status, location, email, and more) are being accessed outside of the U.S. and shared in non-secure file formats with third-party companies. Thanks to CFIUS’ 2019 intervention, Grindr has now promised to sell the app to an American company by June of 2020.
There’s also a ton of info in there about Grindr CEO Scott Chen shutting down LGBTQ+ publication INTO — which, Mac notes, had “thrived” under the leadership of former editor-in-chief Zach Stafford and managing editor Trish Bendix — and the role that the outlet’s article exposing Chen for his homophobic views might have played in the debacle. Read the piece in full right here on BuzzFeed News.