China’s craze for Bullet Messenger (子弹短信) is quickly cooling down. Lambasted for numerous problems including salacious contents and lax security settings, the once red-hot WeChat rival is losing traction among Chinese users as the excitement in trying out the latest viral app quickly wanes.

Bullet Messenger’s problem of rampant racy content was pointed out shortly after its product launch on August 20, but it seems that the company hasn’t been able to address the issue properly, only letting it grow bigger. It’s common to get sexual greetings from strangers with attractive-looking female avatars, local media reported. Failure to manage content not only hurts user experiences. It is also a concern of greater importance in China, where keeping aligned with the government’s crackdown on “vulgar” content is critical for tech firms.

The lax security setting of the app is one cause for the content issue. Similar to WeChat, Bullet Messenger is positioned as an IM tool among friends, but it allows users to send messages to everyone, even if the other party is not a friend. Criminals have used this loophole to send pornographic messages and other spams to Bullet Messenger users. To make the matter worse, users have to add the stranger as a friend before they can block the spam source.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.