Tencent Anonymous Messaging Shut Down After Content Controversy

Leading Chinese technology company Tencent has officially shut down “Drift Bottle”, an anonymous chat function that people used to find new friends, dates and hookups.

The service was available on instant messaging apps WeChat and QQ Mail. Users could put text and voice messages into a virtual bottle before throwing it into a virtual ocean for other people to pick up.

The announcement was made last month, with a statement citing a “business adjustment” as the main reason. 

However, Tencent had previously suspended ‘Drift Bottle’ at the end of last year after evidence of pornography and prostitution was found on the platform. The Chinese government has been putting extra effort into ‘cleaning up’ the internet in recent months, with a focus on moderating user-generated content.

Momo temporarily removed the newsfeed section from its flagship app and from Tantan in May in order to complete a thorough review of its own screening process. 

A couple of weeks earlier, Tantan disappeared from several major app stores due to adverts for prostitution services allegedly being found on the site.

In September, more than 4,000 websites were banned in China because they were adjudged to promote “improper values, vulgarity or obscenity”. Sugar dating website SeekingArrangement was blacklisted for similar reasons.

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