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09-Feb-2017 10:22

If someone is communicating a preference from a place of honesty without a hostile intention then that would be OK by our guidelines.”No one is questioning honesty, however – rather, on what such a "preference" is founded, and whether a tool enabling users to select by race is ethical.

Skandros points out that unlike other apps, each time users load up Scruff, they are shown a global grid of other users, which cannot be subject to filtering.“You see this diversity of guys from all over the world and you’re like, ‘Wow, these are gay men I’ve never seen before and maybe I do have a different type,’” he says.

I think gay men are feeling more confident about what they do in the bedroom.

It’s a new era.” The app itself is also enjoying a new era of sorts, by venturing into the travel arena with a feature called, aptly, "Venture".

Profiles also convey what members are looking for – some use this to express an apparent racial “preference”. Journalists and bloggers have reported and campaigned against it – a bubbling cry against a backdrop of shrugs, of people saying that supposed preference is innate, instinctive, and thus beyond society – outside of racism.

Anger, concern, and fears about sexual racism infecting both online dating and hookup apps have been brimming for years. So when Silverberg and Skandros beam into Buzz Feed News’ London office via Skype from New York, sitting side-by-side like plucky You Tubers, it isn’t long before the subject arises.

When Eric Silverberg and Johnny Skandros launched Scruff in October 2010, as a rival to Grindr, something extraordinary happened.

It started poaching users from the daddy of gay hookup apps, while luring others in who had never before been tempted to use their phone to find another man. It seemed edgier, yet friendlier – more inclusive for some.

To be confronted in this way about their own business appears to be rather unpleasant for them.

Along with race, how people treat HIV-positive people on dating apps has come under increasing scrutiny.