The app for gay and bisexual men has confirmed that it was sharing users' HIV status with third-party companies. Activists and users have called for a boycott.
Users were calling for a boycott of the gay dating app Grindr on Tuesday after it was revealed that efforts to promote HIV testing and status disclosure had resulted in the firm sharing the data with third-party software companies.
Founded in 2009, the California-based app claims about 3.6 million daily active users around the world. The company's chief technology officer, Scott Chen, said it was "industry standard practice" that had nothing to do with the recent data-sharing scandals at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
Chen added that the companies that use Grindr's data were simply software optimization firms that acted "under strict contractual terms that provide for the highest level of confidentiality, data security, and user privacy."
"I really thought that Grindr cared about the gay community, and was forcing us to have an important dialogue about our health and safety," one user told French news agency AFP, calling the data sale "a slap in the face."
'An egregious breach of confidentiality'
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) said that Grindr had perpetrated "an egregious breach of confidentiality laws," through its "reckless practice" of sharing users' HIV status.
French HIV-advocacy organization AIDES called for a boycott of Grindr, but did approve of the practice of sharing individuals' HIV status with potential partners, saying it would help "normalize the perception and image of HIV-positive people."
Later on Tuesday, the company promised to stop sharing its users' information after the outcry.
Grindr, which caters to gay and bisexual men, was the very first such social app to launch on smartphones, and remains the largest and most popular gay mobile app in the world. It is available in 192 countries.
es/jm (AP, AFP)