Gay dating app Grindr has disappeared from multiple app stores in China as authorities tighten control of the country’s already heavily policed Internet and purge online behavior the ruling Chinese Communist Party dislikes.
The country’s cyberauthority is in the midst of a month-long campaign to root out illegal and sensitive content during the Lunar New Year holiday and this month’s Winter Olympics.
Although the world’s most populous nation decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, same-sex marriage is illegal and LGBTQ issues remain taboo. The LGBTQ community is under pressure as censorship of Web content combines with a ban on depictions of gay romance in films.
Data from mobile research firm Qimai shows that Grindr was removed from Apple Inc’s App Store in China on Thursday.
Searches for the matchmaking app on Android and similar platforms operated by Chinese companies also returned no results. Google’s Play Store is not available in China.
Neither Grindr nor Apple responded to AFP requests for comment. Local Grindr competitors such as Blued remain available for download.
The Chinese former owner of Grindr, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co (北京崑崙萬維科技), sold the app to investors in 2020 under pressure from US authorities concerned that the potential misuse of its data could present national security risks.
On Tuesday, the cyberspace administration announced a drive to crack down on rumors, pornography and other Web content. The campaign aims to “create a civilized, healthy, festive and auspicious online atmosphere for public opinion during the Lunar New Year,” the administration said in a statement.
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