Fact Check

Is Grindr Threatening To Reveal GOP Politicians Who 'Secretly' Use the App?

"[If] Florida doesn't stop passing homophobic and transphobic laws," social media posts claimed, the online-dating app would share the data.

Published Mar 23, 2023

 (Twitter)
Image Via Twitter
Claim:
On March 22, 2023, Grindr threatened to share the identities of Republican politicians who "secretly" use the online-dating app to protest Florida legislation.

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."

Other social media accounts shared the alleged "breaking news," including Twitter accounts and Reddit users. At least one Snopes reader asked us to determine its legitimacy.

"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.

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.

Sources

Boorstein, Michelle, and Kelly, Heather. "Catholic Group Spent Millions on App Data That Tracked Gay Priests." Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/03/09/catholics-gay-priests-grindr-data-bishops/.

"https://twitter.com/HalfwayPost/status/1638740426852306945?S=20." Twitter, https://twitter.com/HalfwayPost/status/1638740426852306945?s=20. Accessed 23 Mar. 2023.

Iati, Marisa, and Boorstein, Michelle. "Case of High-Ranking Cleric Allegedly Tracked on Grindr App Poses Rorschach Test for Catholics." Washington Post, 22 July 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2021/07/21/catholic-official-grindr-reaction/.

Izaguirre, Anthony. "DeSantis to Expand 'Don't Say Gay' Law to All Grades." AP News, 22 Mar. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/dont-say-gay-desantis-florida-gender-d3a9c91f4b5383a5bf6df6f7d8ff65b6.

Saunders, Forrest. "Sweeping Bill Banning Gender Dysphoria Treatments for Minors Clears First House Committee." WPTV News Channel 5 West Palm, 22 Mar. 2023, https://www.wptv.com/news/lgbtq/sweeping-bill-banning-gender-dysphoria-treatments-for-minors-clears-first-house-committee.

Tau, Byron, and Georgia Wells. "WSJ News Exclusive | Grindr User Data Was Sold Through Ad Networks." Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/grindr-user-data-has-been-for-sale-for-years-11651492800.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.