Chinese social apps Momo, Tantan and DingTalk suspend user posts amid government crackdown

14-May-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Popular Chinese social apps Momo, Tantan and DingTalk have implemented a one-month ban on users posting social updates after they were ordered by authorities to clean up “illegal content” amid the government’s ongoing crackdown on cyberspace.

Momo, a Chinese hook-up app turned live-streaming video platform with over 113 million active users, said on Friday it would shut a social newsfeed section on its app for one month starting from May 11, in accordance with “directives of the relevant government authority”. It would also strengthen “content screening efforts” during the one-month suspension, according to the company.

Shares of Nasdaq-listed Momo plunged more than 10 per cent on Friday. A Momo spokeswoman declined to comment beyond what was said in the statement.

Momo-owned Tantan, a popular Tinder-like dating app in China, closed its social posting section on the same day to “carry out content safety measures and create a healthy and positive social environment”, according to a notice on the Tantan app. A Tantan spokeswoman confirmed the month-long suspension.

Tantan was removed from major app stores in the country in late April for “self-inspection” of its content. The app is China’s biggest dating platform, with 90 million registered users and six million daily active users, according to Chinese tech news site 36kr.

DingTalk, the enterprise communication app run by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, has also imposed a one-month ban on Dingding Community, a site for DingTalk users to share their experience of using the app, starting from May 11. The move is “in accordance with a request by relevant authorities”, according to a maintenance notice posted on the app’s website. DingTalk will clean up “illegal information” on the platform during the suspension, according to the notice.

Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

China’s major tech companies are increasingly under pressure from an ongoing campaign by Beijing to clean up content in the country’s cyberspace. Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, the ruling Communist Party has tightened its grip on the internet and has censored pornography, gambling, fake news and political dissent, which it collectively describes as “negative information”.

In mid-April, China’s cyber watchdog closed nine instant messaging apps for allegedly spreading pornographic information and facilitating prostitution. The services were “a severe threat to public security” for spreading illegal information, allowing anonymous registration, conducting fraud and facilitating offline malpractice, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China. The nine messaging tools affected by the clean-up included Inbilin, Liaoliao and Metalk.


Category: China

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