Safer Internet Day 2023: A Group Effort
February 7th marks the 20th anniversary of Safer Internet Day, a day dedicated to promoting a safer and more secure online experience for all. As the world's largest LGBTQ social networking app, Grindr is dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming space for the entire community–one that’s also kinda sexy too.
My name is Juliet Shen, and I’m the Director of Product for Trust & Safety at Grindr. I joined the team last year after working in the online safety space at Snapchat and Tinder, and I am so excited to be here. Since I’m new to Grindr, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the priorities we’re focused on for this year and re-introduce the teams who work year-round to make the app safer and share some of their incredible efforts.
For 2023, across the company, our trust and safety work is focused on three areas:
- Invest in our proactive efforts to better detect harassment, bigotry, fake spam profiles, and minors who aren’t allowed on the app
- Improve our current safety tools and resources such as reporting, blocking, muting, safety tips, community guidelines, and other educational guides
- Support broader LGBTQ rights and equality to serve our community
We’re prioritizing these areas because both the real and online worlds are evolving. New technologies, such as generative AI, create new opportunities for online abuse. At the same time, different countries are issuing new rules around privacy and how apps and sites like ours manage data, which we talked about recently for Data Privacy Day. We know people place a lot of trust in us to protect them and their data, and our plan for 2023 is built on that foundation.
I’m so excited to work with my team and others on these priorities. Let me tell you a little about the groups I’m working with:
Trust & Safety
First, I want to highlight Grindr’s Trust & Safety team. Our mission is to help build a platform in which LGBTQ people from around the world feel safe to share their most authentic selves and establish meaningful connections. We serve the Grindr community, ensuring that the app’s best safety ideas are actualized and brought into reality. Our efforts also go beyond the app, as we work on constantly raising our content moderation standards in an effort to eliminate biases and set equitable policies (hello, nipples!) for all.
Sometimes our work includes recognizing when something we thought would help is used in ways that do more harm than good. For example, when we noticed that our custom gender profile fields—meant to help trans people more accurately express themselves—were being used to make transphobic comments, we changed our strategy and built a global list of gender and pronoun options. We felt strongly that this work and research could help others be more inclusive, so we open-sourced the list for anyone to use.
Grindr For Equality
Next, we have our Grindr for Equality team, who work on a number of initiatives within the company. They act as a bridge between the Trust & Safety team and the community of LGBTQ activists whom we work with to get input on what’s actually happening to LGBTQ people all over the world, feeding that information back into our internal processes.
We are particularly appreciative of Afsaneh Rigot, who has led a project on LGBTQ digital safety in the Middle East-North Africa region from her post at the freedom of expression-focused organization, Article 19 in London. Together, she and Grindr for Equality have engaged a web of activists from technologists to local on-the-ground LGBTQ advocates, who have all come together in a coalition to advise dating apps and sites like ours on safety features that serve our global user base with their profoundly varied needs.
Our coalition work has helped us drill down into what our community needs in the parts of the world where being LGBTQ puts them most at risk. That has meant things like increasing screenshot blocking in those territories, allowing unlimited messages to be unsent, and blocking users’ exact relative distance from one another.
If you’re looking for more information on how to stay safe on Grindr, check out our Safety Tips, get informed about consent and sexual health, stay aware of scams with our Scam Awareness Guide, watch our Play Safe campaign to learn about the safety features in the app, and be sure to review our Holistic Security Guide for best practices on staying safe on and off the app. Finally, if you see something that doesn’t belong on our platform, report it to us so our 24/7 team can help. While our teams work to make our app and the internet safer every day, we are always learning and listening to people who choose Grindr so we can be better.
Grindr is a fun and sexy place, and we want to make sure it’s a safe one, too. Together, we can shape a better internet. Happy #SaferInternetDay!