Leading Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo developing socializing function to build bridges between strangers
Published: Mar 07, 2021 10:42 PM
Pinduoduo Photo: CFP

Pinduoduo Photo: CFP

The WeChat mini program of leading Chinese e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, which has more than 630 million monthly active users, launched a new socialization and blind date platform for users.

This function, called "make friends," is still in the trial stage and only open to a limited number of users, an employee at the e-commerce company who wished to remain anonymous told Chinese media Baobian News.

What makes this new function different from other social media platforms is that contents users post on the "make friends" channel can only be seen by people who are not on the user's friends list, in other words, strangers. 

Most of content published so far is related to dating or looking for love.

"I am divorced and retired from my original job. Now I want to find a boyfriend who can have similar hobbies with me," a lady surnamed Zhang whose location is shown as Beijing wrote. Alongside a self-introduction, she also uploaded several photos of herself.

The homepage has also seen some more vulgar content to attract users' attention such as stories about married people cheating and erotic rumors. A large number of users are participating in the discussion of these topics, and each discussion has received hundreds of comments, making it the most interactive content on the platform so far.

Baobian News found that the active users of this section are mostly middle-aged and elderly at present, and according to their locations, these users are mostly from third or fourth-tier cities or other more rural areas.

Several Pinduoduo users of a variety of ages told the Global Times they were not interested in the function as personal information safety was a major concern.

"Although the platform claims that this content is just aimed at strangers, I feel uncomfortable to expose my photos and personal information such as my location on a public platform," Xiao, 28, who lives in Beijing, said.

Another loyal user of Pinduoduo, 55, living in a county in North China's Shanxi Province, also said the function risks revealing privacy information and is not safe as there is no way to determine if the people she is talking to are dangerous or not. 

Pingduoduo's experiment seems to not have reached positive results, as the new function disappeared from the company's WeChat mini program on Wednesday.

Finding love has not been limited to social media. Recently, some financial platforms have been getting involved in the field. 

Many netizens have been gathering on sites such as Alipay's funds discussion forum to find financially-minded potential love interests. These platforms are becoming popular dating corners.

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