A number of men who use the popular dating app Grindr have begun reporting on mysterious bans from the platform.
Instinct reports that an increasing number of men have taken to social media to report getting banned from Grindr, seemingly for no reason. Though each does receive a message saying that the ban has gone into effect for violation of Grindr’s policies, the men in question also claim to have not committed any violations. Users have their IP addresses blocked, also preventing them from starting new accounts. The men’s identities were not published to protect user privacy.
Worse, the app users have not received any correspondence from the company despite requests for further information regarding the bans.
We found similar threads on Reddit. Both started in February 2020, they also detail user frustrations of inexplicable blockings, even by the customer service department. It also appears that iPhone users tend to encounter the problem more often.
“There are lots of people got banned by Grindr for no reason, some are as simple as turning people down and then got reported,” writers user cucumberfcy. “Grindr won’t give you a specific reason why you got banned. I was keeping asking them why I got banned and they even blocked me on the customer service side lol.”
“Just got banned for no reason and they won’t reply to me anymore,” user Saltandpepper912 said.
Speculation for the reasons behind the ban has ranged from users sending nude pictures (which is historically permitted by Grindr) to sending cross-dressing photos to algorithms incorrectly flagging some accounts as spam.
Others have theorized that innocent use of certain emojis in a profile could trigger a ban, if said emojis could be perceived as alluding to prostitution or drug use.
“Maple leaf is a ban,” notes user Ravedog. “People use it for weed. A lot of emojis are being banned. 🌹 💎 etc. they all have drug and prostitution connotations. It wasn’t for no reason. Don’t use them. Don’t fight out of principal. People have ruined things and you paid the price.”
Without Grindr’s willingness to further address the issue, however, frustrated users can only postulate the reasons behind the bans.
The mysterious banning of users is just the latest bit of intrigue surrounding the popular app. Grindr recently resolved an ongoing legal drama regarding ownership of the app by a Chinese company; it was sold back to San Vicente Acquisition, a US-based company, earlier this year. Grindr has also been criticized in the past for reinforcing racial and body discrimination, sale of user data including HIV stats to third-party companies, and for not doing enough to ban spam and scams.
We reached out to Grindr for comment on this story. At the time of this writing, they have not responded to our requests.