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Are meal delivery kits really worth the money? Online dating is also the number one way same-sex couples meet.
Might that give dating apps themselves the power to change a culture of discrimination? In one view, this is a question of free speech, one with pronounced resonance in the wake of the US election as tech giants like Facebook and Google also grapple with their power to regulate all manner of content online. In opaque terms, that means Grindr expects a high level of self-moderation from its community. According to Sloterdyk, Grindr employs a team of plus full-time moderators that he said has no tolerance for offensive content.
Nearly every app asks users to report profiles that transgress its terms and conditions, though some are far more specific in defining the kinds of language it will not tolerate. Such policies, however, still require users to moderate each other and report such transgressions. But dwelling solely on issues of speech regulation skirts the impact intentional design choices have on the way we behave on various platforms.
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Some have already taken these steps. Users must register with their Facebook account rather than merely an email address. Additionally, photos and profile content on Chappy goes through a vetting process that requires everyone show their faces. Apps such as Chappy, Bumble, and Tinder do not let users filter potential matches by the color of their skin.
Other apps mentioned in this piece did not immediately respond to requests for the percentage of their users who filter by ethnicity. And Grindr did not articulate a direct answer. While not an exclusively queer platform, it aims to improve engagement for people of colour on dating sites by prioritizing racial preferences.
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Smith, the Lawrence University sociologist, acknowledged that there is some validity to this perspective. But when it comes down to what gay-focused apps should do, he said: But for most of the major gay apps, eliminating filters entirely could actually cut into a revenue stream.
And therein lies a design conundrum: Swipe-based apps like Tinder offer basic filters such as for age and proximity , but filters are less essential to the user experience as they are on apps that have a scrolling-grid interface. Because Grindr and similar grid-based apps limit the number of profiles that any one user can see in their immediate radius, it thereby necessitates the need for filters to see more matches. From that standpoint, sassy videos with a body-positive or anti-racism slant seem less like a bandaid and more like a PR ploy.
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After watching What the Flip? Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily. Some say it is high time that apps like Grindr changed their filter features.
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