Why is Grindr disappearing from the App Store in China?

Grindr has pulled its popular dating app from the App Store in China in response to a new law seen by many as a tool to crack down on political dissent and the LGBTQ+ community.

A Grindr spokesperson says Outsidesister publication of the lawyer that the decision was made in response to potential compliance issues with the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPL). The government is currently waging a campaign to purge the internet of information it deems illegal, pornographic or otherwise in conflict with official government positions.

“Like many other US companies, we have elected to remove our app from the App Store in China due to the potential increased burden of China’s recently implemented Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL),” said the Grindr spokesperson Patrick Lenihan. the lawyeradding, “We may revisit this in the future.”

The law took effect on Nov. 1 last year and regulates data stored on apps and requires government approval for data transfers from China to outside regions.

Late last year, the country’s communist government ordered broadcasters to suppress freedom of expression for gender and sexual identity, and “resolutely put an end to sissies and other anomalous aesthetics”. Fearing the cultural impact on the country of South Korean singers and influencers, the government ordered the media to “vigorously promote excellent traditional Chinese culture, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.”

Also last year, Chinese messaging app WeChat blocked the accounts of LGBTQ+ student groups, microblogging company Weibo Corp. suspending thousands of fan clubs and entertainment news accounts that did not respect the government’s view of proper speech and opinion.

In Europe last year, Grindr breached the Norwegian Data Protection Authority and was fined 100 million Norwegian kroner (about $11.6 million) for illegally selling users’ personal information to third-party advertisers. At the time, the fine represented around ten percent of the company’s European turnover and around a third of its net profits.

Although the government may not approve of it, there is still a thriving gay community in China. A recent survey of Grindr users found that China was in the top five for the number of gay men identifying as stockings and for those accepting NSFW photos.

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