Italian App Designer Makes $260 Million Grindr Bid

Grindr could be about to change ownership from Chinese leadership to Italian. The Milan-based app designer Bending Spoons has reportedly made a bid of $260 million for the gay dating app. 

Kunlun Tech Group had been ordered to sell its stake in Grindr by June 2020 by the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS). The CFIUS reviews the national security implications of foreign investments in US companies or operations, and expressed concerns about how Grindr handles the personal data it obtains from men who use it. 

It is being reported that Bending Spoon’s offer is bolstered by a major investment firm H14, which is headed up by Barbara, Eleonora, and Luigi Berlusconi, children of the former Italian prime minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi. 

Under Kunlun’s ownership Grindr has had to deal with a number of controversies, including claims that Scott Chen, the heterosexual head of Grindr, created a Facebook post that appeared to state his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Grindr’s biggest issue has been claims that it has not taken steps to secure its users’ data, which includes location information, messages, and even HIV statuses.

The app has been used by governments in conservative countries, such as Egypt, to track down and arrest gay men.

Ars Technica, the technology website, reported that “Grindr developers modified the app to disable location tracking in Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Liberia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, and any other place with anti-gay laws.” However, Ars Technica said there remain other weaknesses with the app that potentially can put its users in danger

Grindr was strongly criticised in April 2018 when it was revealed that it shared users’ HIV statuses, sexual proclivities and other personal information with outside software vendors. It responded by saying it would no longer share the HIV data with outside vendors.

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