The gay dating and hookup app announced the change on Monday, saying: “We will continue to fight racism on Grindr, both through dialogue with our community and a zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate-speech on our platform.”
“As part of this commitment, and based on your feedback, we have decided to remove the ethnicity filter from our next release.”
Grindr — which describes itself as “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people” — had previously come under fire for allowing users to filter for matches based on ethnicity as part of its paid “Xtra” service.
Currently, users of the technology can filter prospective partners by height, weight, age and ethnicity, though it is not the only dating app to offer these filters.
Representatives for the company had previously defended its ethnicity filter, arguing that the feature was used by members of minority groups looking for others of the same race.
Critics have argued that Grindr’s filter promoted discrimination. Research from Cornell University found that dating apps that allow users to filter their searches by race, or rely on algorithms that pair people of the same race, “reinforce racial divisions and biases,” while an Australian survey of gay and bisexual men found many participants to be “remarkably tolerant” of online sexual racism.
On Monday, Grindr framed the policy change as one motivated by solidarity with protesters in the United States.
“We stand in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the hundreds of thousands of queer people of color who log in to our app every day.”