The government fears Beijing could use the data from the apps to blackmail Americans

Grindr’s Chinese owner has been forced to sell as the US government fears a national security threat.

The FT reports that Chinese company Beijing Kunlun Tech is being forced to sell gay dating app Grindr by the US government.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius) are believed to be concerned that Beijing could use data gathered by Grindr against Americans.

Grindr advertises itself as “the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people.”  Through the app, users can share photos and personal data including their location, age, sexual preferences and HIV status.

Cfius lawyers said foreign governments could exploit user data through social media.

“Data and data aggregation are now a national security issue,” said Ivan Schlager, a partner at law firm Skadden Arps. “We’ve seen this in transactions before, but this makes the issue [for Cfius] clearer.”

Cfius previously blocked the acquisitions of MoneyGram and Applovin by Chinese companies due to security concerns.

Kulun had bought Grindr outright in 2018 and had planned on conducting an IPO for the gay dating app but is now looking to sell to a US-based firm.