Privacy Unraveling Around Explicit HIV Status Disclosure Fields in the Online Geosocial Hookup App Grindr

Mark Warner, Andreas Gutmann, M. Angela Sasse, Ann Blandford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


mHealth applications ("apps") must be searched for and downloaded prior to use, creating a potential barrier to uptake. Integrating health interventions into existing online social environments removes this barrier. However, little is known about the effects of linking sensitive health information to existing online identities. Our qualitative analysis of online comments (n=192) explores the user views of an HIV intervention integrated into the geosocial hookup app Grindr. We find some HIV positive users report keeping their status private to reduce their stigma exposure, whilst others report publicly disclosing their status to avoid being stigmatised by others. Where users keep their status private, we find concerns that social assumptions may develop around these non-disclosures, creating a privacy unraveling effect which restricts disclosure choice. Using Peppet's four proposed limits to privacy unraveling, we develop a set of descriptive conceptual designs to explore the privacy respecting potential of these limits within this context and propose further research to address this privacy challenge.
Original languageEnglish
Article number181
Number of pages22
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Event2018 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing - Hyatt Regency, Jersey City, United States
Duration: 3 Nov 20187 Nov 2018


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