Popular gay dating app Grindr has recently come under fire for sharing the HIV status of its users with two third-party app optimisation companies.

The company has now said that it will stop sharing the information, but pointed to its privacy policy in defence of its actions.

"We make it clear in our privacy policy that if you chose to include this information in your profile, the information will also become public," said Grindr's chief technology officer Scott Chen in a statement.

"As a result, you should carefully consider what information to include in your profile."

"The inclusion of HIV status information within our platform is always regarded carefully with our users' privacy in mind, but like any other mobile app company, we too must operate with industry standard practices to help make sure Grindr continues to improve for our community."

Commenting on the story, Evgeny Chereshnev, CEO and founder of privacy-focused wearable company Biolink.Tech, said: "All practices where a company has access to confidential information such as HIV status, sexual orientation or even information on deadly allergies, should be illegal to share with other parties.

“This type of highly personal information is like gold to hackers and can be used for blackmail, extortion or manipulation, where a lot of damage could be done to a person's life.

"Our personal information needs to be owned by us; and only we should have visibility as to where and how this data is used, and on what basis."