Multiple mobile apps for supporting idols removed, many with functions for tracking stars
Published: Aug 19, 2021 06:13 PM
fans Photo:VCG

fans Photo:VCG

 In response to a campaign launched by China's internet regulator to reform the country's fan club culture, many popular apps for supporting idols, some of which collected the personal information of celebrities, have been removed from mobile app stores, while some remaining apps have implemented an age gate restricting minors from using certain functions.  

According to a report from the Securities Times on Thursday, multiple mobile apps, including Chaoji Xingfantuan (Super Star's Fan Club) and Taoba (Peach), have disappeared from mobile app stores, both for IOS and Android systems, in August.

These mobile apps provided a variety of functions for idol fans. The Super Star's Fan Club, for instance, sent out an alert to users whenever a star logged into their social media account so that fans could interact with their idols immediately.

According to the report, the company developing the app was sued in July and the judgment shows that the app illegally collected the personal information of several entertainers such as actress Yang Mi and singer Zhang Jie.

The ability to track stars' schedules and activities were these apps' major selling points, making them extremely popular among fervent fans.

Most of these apps were also platforms that encouraged fans to take part in fights among various fan clubs, invade the privacy of stars and other netizens and partake in other forms of unwarranted abuse online - problems that are the focus of the campaign launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China. 

Among the apps that have been taken down, most of them can still be used. Although the apps are no longer in stores, most of them are still running, but some have revised certain functions.

The mobile app Peach has closed trading functions such as crowdfunding for entertainers or gifting virtual items to idols or on idols' photos or albums since Friday.

Meanwhile, some new functions have appeared on the app. Peach added channels such as a Party building study group and one for charity donations to encourage fans to learn more about the Communist Party of China and pay more attention to social welfare.

Another app Owhat launched measures targeting teenagers. Minors have been unable to buy anything on the platform since the beginning of August. Meanwhile, the platform announced that it would work to guide teens to rationally support idols and promote healthy fan club culture.

The withdrawal of these apps has caught attention of netizens, many of whom commented that regulation should have come sooner and that in addition to these mobile apps, larger social media platforms such as Sina Weibo should be improved.

"I like using Owhat and the app does allow me to get the latest information about my idol very quickly. I also made some friends through the app. But there are some inappropriate channels and functions which should be removed as soon as possible," a 28-year-old fan of singer Li Yifeng surnamed Li told the Global Times on Thursday.

She said that she believes that cleaning up problematic content can improve the fan club industry.