Grinder is taking steps to protect the privacy of athletes and other people participating in the Beijing Winter Olympics.
In a change from previous Olympics, the social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people is limiting its Explore feature so that only people at or near the Olympic Village will be able to connect with others at the Games. Their profiles won’t be visible to other people using Grindr around the world.
“Olympians come to the games from every country around the world, from places that have enshrined freedom of self expression in their constitutions to places where, unfortunately, it is considered illegal to be LGBTQ+,” said Jack Harrison-Quintana, director of Grindr for Equality, in an emailed statement. “We want Grindr to be a space where all queer athletes, regardless of where they’re from, feel confident connecting with one another while they’re in the Olympic Village.”
The change, which was reported earlier by Bloomberg News, aims to protect Olympic athletes using Grindr from . During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, some TikTok and Twitter users used the app to find Grindr profiles of people in the Olympic Village and then posted what they found. In 2016 at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a Daily Beast reporter looked to Grindr to see if athletes in the Olympic Village were using dating apps. The article sparked outrage, and The Daily Beast removed it and apologized for its publication.
Though it’s a first for the Olympic Games, Grindr has previously limited or disabled its Explore feature in some countries and regions where being LGBTQ may be illegal or dangerous.
The Beijing Winter Olympics started on Feb. 4 and will run until Feb. 20.