On March 22, 2023, Twitter account @HalfwayPost supposedly broke news that the gay dating app Grindr said it would disclose the identities of Republican politicians who "secretly" use the service "if Florida doesn't stop passing homophobic and transphobic laws."
"BREAKING: The gay dating app Grindr says if Florida doesn't stop passing homophobic and transphobic laws, they'll reveal every Republican legislator and party official who secretly uses the app," the @HalfwayPost tweeted.
BREAKING: The gay dating app Grindr says if Florida doesn't stop passing homophobic and transphobic laws, they'll reveal every Republican legislator and party official who secretly uses the app.
— The Halfway Post (@HalfwayPost) March 22, 2023
This wasn't true. The claim originated with a Twitter account (@HalfwayPost) that posts comedy and satire, according to its Twitter bio. "I don't report the facts, I improve them," it said. No reputable news publication reported the alleged "breaking news."
The tweet came the same day that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration proposed to expand the Parental Rights in Education bill, or what critics have called the "Don't Say Gay" law, to prohibit classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades. The law currently forbids such lessons for kindergarteners through third graders.
The same day, a Florida House committee passed a bill that would expand a current ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, as well as cut insurance coverage of such care for transgender adults, among other changes.
For years, Grindr sold its data through ad networks, leading to privacy concerns. The Washington Post reported in March 2023 that a group of conservative Colorado Catholics had bought mobile-app data from Grindr to identify gay priests that have used the app. The paper previously reported how a high-ranking cleric resigned after allegedly being tracked using data from Grindr.
The tweet about Grindr wasn't the first satirical post from @HalfwayPost that we've covered. In August 2022, we alerted readers about another one in which former U.S. President Donald Trump supposedly told "his supporters to boycott the midterm elections because of how the [Department of Justice] is treating him so unfairly."
For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.