No Shirt, No Shorts, No Problem: Grindr Now Allows (Some) Butts
Ten months ago, we published a blog post outlining our expansion of image rules to include underwear. It was a critical step towards our mission of allowing the Grindr community to express themselves more freely. Today, we are announcing another exciting update to our rules, which includes more butts!
Let’s start with Grindr’s philosophy on image policies. We believe:
- All of our members deserve fair and equal treatment, regardless of gender, body type, or other physical attributes. Anything other than this is discrimination.
- Moderation policies should be clear, easy to understand, and easy to enforce, without much room for interpretation or bias.
- There are many contexts where showing skin is not considered pornographic by the app store policies we’re bound to, even in the context of a dating app.
When creating our rules and guidelines, we concentrated first on ways to remove bias and discrimination from the moderation process as much as possible. We recognize that assessments of how sexual a photo is can be influenced by common gender biases: how much skin someone shows, how much body hair they are expected to have, how the fat on their body is distributed, etc.
In addition to general moderation training, our moderators regularly receive specific training on bias, gender, microaggressions, and discrimination, to help them make as fair and equitable decisions as possible. We also do not take body hair or body type (or, body hair type) into consideration when reviewing photos.
Here are our new guidelines for public profile images
The following is Not Allowed:
- Pornographic images & depictions of sex acts
- Full frontal or graphic nudity
The following is Allowed:
- People of all bodies (all ethnicities, all sizes, all genders, and all identities) expressing their sexuality joyfully
- Underwear photos
- Non-pornographic sexual poses
- Some images of buttocks if they are non-graphic and without an overly sexual context
While we are committed to sex-positivity, and hope that most of our users enjoy the new guidelines, we also know that not everyone is comfortable seeing that extra bit of skin. For those people, we recommend filtering your grid to only show people who have a face photo as their primary image. We hope to have more ways to customize and personalize your experience in the future.
We’ve come a long way with image policies in the last year, and are proud to say that our policies are now more intuitive, inclusive, and less prone to bias. We hope that the vast majority of our users will feel confident in understanding our rules and uploading their photos without fear of the images being rejected. In general, our guidelines are very similar to Instagram and YouTube in terms of what we do and don’t allow.
That said, there will always be images that push the limits of what is clearly allowed, and we do have to draw the line to prohibit what the app stores consider pornography. It’s extremely difficult to accurately define what is and isn’t pornographic. As United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said, “…I know it when I see it.”
We, however, have to define it in a way that is less vague, and so we have set criteria to help our moderators make informed decisions:
- Pose - Is the pose sexually suggestive?
- Context - Is the image in a private, intimate, or sexual setting? Is there more than one person in the image, or props that need to be considered?
- Nudity - Is there a focus on genitals, even if clothed? (Keep in mind that any explicit nudity must be rejected regardless.)
If the image includes sexual content in only one out of the three categories, it is more likely to be acceptable. If it has sexual content in all three, then it should be rejected. If a photo has sexual content in two out of the three categories, it’s an edge case and needs to be evaluated individually, keeping all aspects of the image in mind.
When determining edge cases or boundary-pushing images, we’ll consider the apparent intent of the image. Of course it’s hard to know exactly what someone hopes to convey when they upload an image to Grindr, but we draw the line between these two scenarios:
- Allowed: Hey, look at me, don’t I look attractive and like you might want to have sex with me some time?
- Not allowed: Hey, I bet this image makes you imagine yourself in this exact scenario with me having sex just like this…
A note on gender and nudity:
We are working towards gender-inclusive photo rules for our community instead of holding men, women, and nonbinary people to different standards. Unfortunately due to the current app store policies, we must include women’s nipples as a prohibited nudity category in our photo policies. Men and nonbinary people are allowed to show their nipples.
Given the millions of users who use the app every day, we moderate a lot of profile images. In addition to our (amazing) human moderation team, we do also auto-approve some images that our artificial intelligence system classifies as “definitely not pornography.” This helps our team to focus on those difficult edge cases, and to ensure that any rejected image is done so after careful consideration. That said, both AI and humans can sometimes get things wrong, so you may see images on Grindr that don’t perfectly fit within the rules we’ve outlined above. If that’s the case, we would love for you to let us know by flagging and reporting the profile so our team can take another look.
We hope that explaining the thought process behind our image moderation practices helps you understand what is and isn’t allowed, and why. Our moderation team works hard to help Grindr feel like an inclusive, sex-positive, and fun place to be.