US officials order Chinese company to sell gay dating app Grindr: Media report

Officials worry that Beijing Kunlun Tech would have "no choice but to share information" on Grindr users if Chinese authorities demanded it do so. They fear that people with security clearances who use the app could be blackmailed by Beijing.
Officials worry that Beijing Kunlun Tech would have "no choice but to share information" on Grindr users if Chinese authorities demanded it do so. They fear that people with security clearances who use the app could be blackmailed by Beijing.PHOTO: ST FILE

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A Chinese firm has been ordered by American national security officials to sell popular gay dating app Grindr, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday (March 27).

The officials fear that people with security clearances who use the app could be blackmailed by Beijing, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Beijing Kunlun Tech bought a majority stake in Grindr in 2016.

The company paid US$93 million (S$125 million) for a 60 per cent stake that year, acquiring the remainder two years later for US$152 million, the newspaper said.

Officials worry that the company would have "no choice but to share information" on Grindr users if Chinese authorities demanded it do so, the Journal said.

Grindr, which bills itself as "the world's largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people", was founded in 2009 and says it has millions of users worldwide.