Alibaba's popular smartphone application Alipay said yesterday it would strengthen scrutiny after criticism its new social networking function enables "provocative," networking. It pledged to remove excessively exposed photos and postings on some of its newly unveiled online discussion groups.
The online discussion groups are part of the new social networking features the application unveiled over the weekend, where strangers with similar interests and common topics were invited to share postings and comments.
In some of the online discussion groups, users with a high credit level are allowed to give "tips," or small amounts of payments, to postings they like.
For example, in one online discussion group that entitled "logs of schoolgirls," some posted photos with little clad young women accompanied by provocative comments that are meant to attract "tips" from followers. The postings were later removed.
This has sparked controversy on China's social media, with some saying that the online payment system had become a place to find "hookers."
Alipay said yesterday that the new feature was still in the testing stage and the company pledged to take timely measures to filter and deal with illegal and malicious information. Up to 100 online communities are available for users and Alipay said its real-name registration system provided reassurance to users of its online space
"As an open platform, Alipay's social networking feature hopes to facilitate interaction and communication among its users while creating values for our partners in the field," it said, adding that there were many more discussion groups with topics ranging from fitness, pets and online gaming.
Alipay is China's third most popular mobile app, following rival Tencent's WeChat and QQ.