A SHANGHAI-based company that fabricated salacious news stories in a bid to promote its smartphone app has been ordered to shut down.
The State Internet Information Office issued the ruling against the makers of the Youjia app — which claims to make it easier for young people to meet — and banned its sale nationwide.
One of the news stories, titled “Body for Traveling,” told of a young woman who financed a tour of the country by swapping sexual favors with “temporary boyfriends” she met through Youjia in return for food and accommodation.
A second, “Sex in an Excavator,” told how a 21-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman — who also met through the app — decided to have sex while waiting to be rescued from an earthmover in Shanghai’s Putuo District.
Both stories spread extensively over the Internet and were carried by newspapers across China.
“The company crossed the line for promotion,” the information office said in a statement.
“(The stories) contained fake and unethical content,” it said.
The firm admitted to failings in the management of its marketing and promotion activities, and promised to resolve the matter with the regulators.
The Youjia app has 30 million users, most of them aged 15 to 25. Its website offers tips on sex and relationships, including a guide for men on how to seduce young women “in three steps.”