China has removed LGBTQ dating app Grindr from the iPhone App Store. Claiming they are cracking down on what they deem illegal content before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Grindr’s removal from various mobile app stores comes just days before the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Last week, the Cyberspace Administration of China launched a month-long campaign that will target content that violates the country’s internet laws as part of what it calls an effort to cultivate a “healthy” environment for the Chinese New Year.
While the agency does not list the portrayal of homosexuality and other gay themes under its list of illegal content, Beijing has increasingly shown intolerance towards LGBTQ groups and has even banned what it labels an “effeminate men” from TV.
If you’re thinking about downloading it from other app stores – the gay dating app has also been removed from various Android app stores run by the likes of Huawei and Tencent.
It’s unclear if Grindr was targeted for being a gay matchmaking service but similar local platforms like Blued remained active.
Chinese officials cited its removal as difficulties keeping it in compliance with the country’s Personal Information Protection Law.
The new regulations — a local version of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR — went into effect at the end of 2021. The law limits personal information stored in apps and requires data transferred between China and other regions to be approved by the Chinese government.
A representative for Grindr noted that other companies have removed their apps for similar reasons.
Some Grindr users in China reported connectivity issues over the past few weeks, including the inability to send and receive messages or add likes.
In 2020, the Chinese owner of Grindr, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., sold the app to investors for about $600 million, after U.S. regulators required the divestment on national security grounds.
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