Grindr has been removed from several app stores in China as authorities continue to police online content and behaviour.

LGBTQ+ content in the country is frequently censored or banned, despite homosexuality being decriminalised there in 1997.

With China celebrating the lunar new year holiday period and being closer than ever to the Winter Olympics, its cyber authority is working to take down illegal and sensitive content.

This often includes online behaviour that the Communist party ruling the country dislikes.

Last week, it was announced that the Cyberspace Administration of China would be undertaking a month-long campaign to remove what it deemed problematic content, such as pornography.

According to Apple, Grindr’s developers removed it from China’s App Store.

It was no longer available by 27 January, data from researchers at Qimai confirmed – sparking concerns that it had been targeted as part of the crackdown.

In addition to Apple’s store, the dating app can also no longer be found on similar platforms – though similar apps like Blued are still available for download.

Users in the region had been reporting connectivity issues on Grindr in recent weeks, though it remains unclear if this is linked to the app’s removal.

A representative from Grindr told Bloomberg that several companies had removed their apps from Chinese stores because of challenges in complying with the region’s Personal Information Protection Law.

The legislation came into effect towards the end of 2021 and is similar to Europe’s GDPR guidelines as it restricts personal information being stored in apps.

However, it comes with the added caveat that data sent between China and other areas must be given the green light by the government.

Grindr was sold to investors for roughly $600 million by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., the Chinese owner of the app, in 2020 after US authorities applied pressure over concerns about misuse of its data potentially leading to national security risks.