Belgian liberals are aiming to reach gay people via the Grindr-app (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

News Vote 24

Belgian Liberals advertise on Grindr for EU elections


In a search for votes for the European Parliament elections in June, the Belgian Liberal Open VLD party is advertising on the gay dating app Grindr.

With LGBTQ-related political messages, the Liberals aim to convince homosexuals and others using the app to vote for them.

Donned in rainbow-coloured flags, figureheads of the party highlighted proposals such as including LGBTQ rights in the Belgian Constitution, as well as combatting the country’s rapidly growing hard-right.

“Everyone should be able to love whom they want,” Open VLD President Tom Ongena told Brussels-based newspaper Het Nieuwsblad on May 30“We must not let Conservatives and extremists take that right away.

“Take [hard-right Vlaams Belang President] Tom Van Grieken’s statements, for example, or what his far-right friends in other countries already have been doing. That is why Open VLD wants LGBT rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Grindr is an appropriate and important channel to highlight this liberal priority,” Ongena said.

Reinout Van Zandycke, an expert in political communication, told Belgian news outlet HLN that it was logical for a party that leads on such a message to use tools where the so-called rainbow community is active.

“Because the Liberals don’t have much competition on the app, the campaign gets noticed.

“Politicians also prefer to go to crowded marketplaces,” Van Zandycke pointed out.

At the end of April, Grindr was sued in the UK by more than 670 users who accused the app of having shared sensitive personal information with advertising companies for commercial purposes.

London law firm Austen Hays claimed Grindr shared sensitive information with various third parties about users’ HIV status and most recent test date, their ethnicity, their orientation and their sex life, between 2018 and 2020.

A spokesperson for the US-based app was quoted by the UK’s The Guardian newspaper on May 27 as denying the allegations.

Grindr has never sold or shared user-reported health information, including HIV status, for advertising purposes, as is inaccurately suggested in this legal claim,” they said.

The case is ongoing.

Grindr was fined €6.5 million by Norway in 2021 for breaking the European General Data Protection Regulation. The UK privacy agency also issued a warning about privacy violations.

By 2023, Grindr — regarded as the top dating app for LGBT people — had about 13 million active monthly users across the globe, despite being banned in many countries.