Alipay recently rolled out a new service targeted at building online communities based on common interests and shared backgrounds. However, like most things online, it has instead been used to sell sex.
The payment app’s new service “Quanzi” (圈子), meaning “circle” or “groups,” hosts a number of different groups, like those for pet owners or fitness lovers. However, perhaps two of the most popular circles are “White Collar Diary” and “Campus Diary,” groups that peddle a different sort of connection, People’s Daily reports.
These groups are filled with pictures of female users in suggestive poses with little clothing. Underneath the pics are flirtatious captions, often implying that the women are hunting for a sex partner. Only Alipay members with high enough credit scores are allowed to comment back to the women or even give them a small online payment or “tip” for their pictures.
While Alipay originally implemented these features to encourage serious comments and the rewarding of well thought out blog posts, the company apparently completely overlooked its potential to also work as an “booty call app,” as Chinese netizens have been calling it.
The pictures have since gone viral on Chinese social media with netizens mocking the online-payment service for managing to turn itself into a brothel over the weekend.
“Alipay has successfully changed its function to be a legal online dating application,” commented Wang Sicong, China’s richest son.
Alibaba has since vowed that it will strengthen its scrutiny of the Alipay circles, removing provocative or pornographic postings and banning users for making them. Of course, we would advise caution when posting suggestive material online in China.
[Images via People’s Daily / NetEase]
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