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Spam, Bans…and Our Plans

Minimizing abuse and spam on our platform is a constant endeavor—here’s how our support and moderation process works.
Alice Hunsberger
&
VP, Customer Experience
March 15, 2021
April 16, 2024
5
min. read
Spam, Bans…and Our Plans
Table of Contents

As an app committed to transparency and open communication with our users, we spend a lot of time listening to people’s feedback both on and off Grindr. So when we see misperceptions about our app and the work we do to provide the best user experience possible, we take it to heart. In this post, we wanted to address two specific misconceptions we’ve seen, and give you more insight into how our support and moderation process works.                  

Misconception 1: Grindr bans people for no reason, either because we don’t care about our users or because Grindr somehow benefits from banning innocent users.      

Misconception 2: Grindr doesn’t care about spam or abuse, and is purposely not banning the spam accounts because we make money off them.                            

Misconception 1: “Grindr bans people for no reason.”                                      

It might help to approach this misconception with a quick cost-benefit analysis. What would the pros and cons be for Grindr to ban people for no reason?

Pros:                

  • None  

Cons:                  

  • Dissatisfied users              
  • Negative app reviews and ratings                                      
  • Fewer users, resulting in decreased subscription and ad revenue (yes, Grindr is a business, and like many other popular apps you might use, we rely on subscription and ad revenue to help keep our app accessible to all.)

The simple truth is that Grindr has nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by banning users for no reason. That said, we work hard to keep Grindr safe and free of behavior that violates our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service . Prohibited behavior includes: spam, impersonation, prostititution and solicitation, marketing of outside services, harassment, drug dealing or promoting drug use, underage users, and other negative activities on Grindr. For example, if someone knowingly files a false report about a user, in an attempt to get them banned, that can result in the reporter being banned.

The work to handle bans on Grindr is incredibly difficult, and we combine complex software with over 100 people on our customer support and moderation team to do that work. The work of our users who submit reports when they see bad behavior is incredibly important. We appreciate your help.

Even still, mistakes can happen. In some cases, a warning is more appropriate than a ban. We will introduce a warning system later this year, but in the meantime, we have a process for banned customers to appeal their case. All ban appeals are investigated by our support team members. The process is time consuming and expensive for Grindr, but we want to correct any mistakes.

We often hear the complaint from a banned user, “I got no explanation for my ban.” This is a tough one. There are a few reasons why we can’t provide much detail. First, it’s important to protect the privacy of users who may have reported the issues, so we can’t say “User [XYZ] reported you for solicitation.” Secondly, for some abuse, such as spamming, the details we might provide help the abusing party improve their methods. When people know how they were caught, they are just that much harder to catch the next time.    

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Misconception 2: “Grindr doesn’t ban enough because it makes money off these spam accounts”                                      

Ironically, the opposite of the first misconception is that we don’t ban enough. The assumption here is that Grindr benefits from spam on our platform. This is completely false. Grindr in no way benefits from spam on our platform, neither financially nor in terms of the safety and happiness of our users. Again, a look at the pros and cons of allowing spam on Grindr doesn’t support the idea that Grindr somehow benefits from spam:                 

Pros:

  • None

Cons:       

  • Bad user experience—what’s worse than getting excited to receive a new message only to realize it’s spam
  • Negative app reviews and ratings
  • Fewer users, resulting in decreased subscription and ad revenue                    

As we said above , Grindr is fighting and banning spam non-stop, 24/7, 365 days a year. Spam is our most reported and banned category. The fight against spammers, particularly on an instantaneous chat service where users seek significant privacy, is a big challenge. Our goal is to prevent and remove spam before it’s reported. We use a number of systems in the fight, including a new AI-powered service that helps us detect “non-human” usage of Grindr. Though we are constantly surprised how often we find users with the amazing ability to behave like a machine. Slow down, people!

Recently, we have made significant progress, and spam reports have dropped significantly. But it’s an ongoing battle, and today’s victories can quickly become tomorrow’s new battlefront. Of course, less spam isn’t the goal, no spam is, so we will keep up the fight on bots and spam in the service.

We Want The Best Service For You

The Grindr team is committed to creating a safe and authentic environment where diversity, mutual respect, and sex-positivity flourish. Minimizing abuse and spam on our platform is a constant endeavor, and banning people for no reason or allowing spam on our platform would be counterintuitive to everything we strive to achieve for both our users and our business. Thanks to the hard work of our team over the last six months, complaints related to unfair banning and poor support are down significantly and continue to drop each month. We are not done, and remain committed to providing our users with the best platform to connect, thrive and love. We are listening, we appreciate all your help, and we are here for you!

- Alice Hunsberger, Sr. Director, Customer Experience | LinkedIn   

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