Chinese gay dating app Blued announced on Sunday that it is halting the registration of new users for a week following a report that underage users contracted HIV after going on dates that were set up through the app.
Report Claims Teen Users Contract HIV Through Unprotected Sex
Financial magazine Caixin said in a report that many gay teenagers who used the app and had unprotected sex contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Citing Zhang Beichuan, a prominent Chinese researcher of LGBT issues, Caixin said that Blued's safety lapses exposed underage users to explicit content and even sexual exploitation by adults.
Zhang claimed to have spoken to boys, some of whom managed to create their Blued accounts when they were 14 years old.
"Multiple high-schoolers that he spoke to said they had met up with older men through the app, and some had been pressured into having sex," the Caixin report reads. "Zhang said that a number of underage interviewees told him they had contracted HIV from people they met through Blued."
Blued To Crack Down On Underage Users
In response to this report, Blued said it would launch a comprehensive content audit and regulation. It also said that it would crack down on underage users who pose as adults, an on pictures, texts and groups that involve minors.
"Blued always forbids juveniles from logging on and using the app," the company said in a statement posted on Weibo.
The company also added that it has enabled artificial intelligence to weed out pornographic content, and vowed to further support efforts to prevent the spread of AIDS.
World's Largest Gay Social Network App
Blued is currently the world's largest gay social network app with 40 million registered users, most of whom are based in China, the app's country of origin. It was started by former Qinhuangdao policeman Ma Baoli.