Fact check: Claim about Grindr threatening Republican lawmakers originated as satire

The claim: Grindr will reveal identities of Republican lawmakers if Florida keeps passing homophobic laws

A March 23 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) claims the gay dating app Grindr is threatening Republican lawmakers in Florida.

"BREAKING: The gay dating app Grindr says if Florida doesn’t stop passing homophobic and transphobic laws, they’ll reveal every Republican legislator and party official who secretly uses the app," reads the post.

The Instagram post garnered more than 2,000 likes in a day, while the original tweet garnered more than 200,000 likes in a day. Similar versions of the post have been shared on Facebook and Instagram.

Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks

Our rating: False

A spokesperson for the app told USA TODAY the claim, which originated as satire, is false.

Claim originated as satire

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration is moving to ban all lessons mentioning sexual orientation and gender identity in all grades, expanding the law critics are calling "Don't Say Gay."

Though Grindr has been vocal about its condemnation of such anti-LGBTQ laws, it hasn't threatened to retaliate against Florida Republicans.

Patrick Lenihan, a spokesperson for the app, told USA TODAY the claim is false.

"Grindr protects the privacy of all its users," Lenihan said in an email.

The tweet was originally shared by an account whose profile says, "Halfway true comedy and satire... I don't report the facts, I improve them."

Fact check: Story of teacher redistributing white students' lunches is satire

It's an example of what could be called "stolen satire," where content written as satire and presented that way originally is captured and reposted in a way that makes it appear to be legitimate news. As a result, readers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here.

USA TODAY reached out to the users who shared the post for comment.

The claim has been debunked by the Associated Press as well.

Our fact-check sources:

Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Satirical claim that Grindr threatened Florida lawmakers