A new law in China leads Grindr to leave the App Store there

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Gay dating app Grindr is no longer available on Apple’s App Store in China, with Grindr officials saying they voluntarily removed it in anticipation of additional regulations when a new law is implemented.

“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 Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL). We may revisit this at future,” a Grindr spokesperson. Patrick Lenihan said The Lawyer. Google Play, the app store for Android platforms, is not available in China, Lenihan added.

There was earlier speculation that Grindr had faced a government crackdown on LGBTQ+ content ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which are due to start on Friday.

The PIPL, which went into effect Nov. 1, “limits the personal information stored in apps and requires data transferred between China and other regions to be approved by the Chinese government,” according to the report. Bloomberg news service, who was one of the first to report Apple’s removal of the app, which happened last week. Not all of the law’s provisions were implemented immediately, but tech companies and legal experts said they anticipated compliance issues.

Competitors based in China, such as Blued, remain available. Grindr is based in the United States, having been sold to an American company by its Chinese owner in 2020.

There are fears of further regulation of LGBTQ+ content by China. The National Cyberspace Administration announced last week that it was stepping up its efforts against content it considers pornographic or otherwise objectionable, Bloomberg notes.

China decriminalized homosexuality 25 years ago, and many of its major cities have thriving LGBTQ+ scenes, but the country remains a hostile place for LGBTQ+ people in many ways. The government announced last September that it was banning depictions of “sissy men” in television programs and “gay love” in video games. The National Radio and Television Administration told broadcasters they must “resolutely put an end to sissies and other anomalous aesthetics”.

Then in November, LGBT Rights Advocacy China suspended operations indefinitely and closed its accounts on social media platforms. It’s unclear if government action led to the shutdown, but it has taken action against numerous organizations and websites. Additionally, in July, moderators on social media site WeChat removed several LGBTQ+ accounts run by students and college groups.

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