Alibaba productivity tool DingTalk suspends social feature after reprimand

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Alibaba’s enterprise efficiency app DingTalk has shut down its community forum for a month, the company announced on Saturday.

On the day of the announcement, an in-app screenshot showed the message “DingTalk Community system under maintenance.” A brief note explained that as a result of official reprimand for problematic content, the company would fix issues and temporarily suspend updates for the feature.

On May 13, the Community forum could no longer be found on DingTalk. As of publication, Alibaba had not responded to a TechNode inquiry for comment.

DingTalk wasn’t alone in being censured over content issues: on the same day, dating apps Momo and Tantan also announced that social features were suspended on their respective platforms in order to clean up user-posted content. In late April, Tantan was removed from major Android app stores due to unspecified “violations.”

On Weibo, some netizens expressed confusion about DingTalk’s announcement. “Was it because the 669 topic was too much?” one commenter with the username Lotus Island asked, referring to Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma’s recent, racy remarks on employees’ sex lives at a company event on Friday. Ma appeared to stand by his earlier comments defending “996,” a reference to the 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days per week work schedule adopted by some of the biggest tech companies in China.

Other Weibo netizens made generally disparaging remarks about DingTalk, which has attracted criticism in the past for enabling employers to track employee movements via a geotagging function. “DingTalk is just a tool for capitalists to crush us, better that it dies,” a commenter using the handle, Almost 30, wrote.

According to its official website, more than 7 million enterprises currently use DingTalk. The app is most popular among internet service companies, according to the company, to the tune of 1.3 million tech-related entities.

With additional reporting by Jill Shen.