Shares of dating app company Momo fell on Friday after announcing it would temporarily shut down the social newsfeed on its platform for a month amid tightening government scrutiny.
In an announcement posted late Friday on its platform of the same name, Momo said users are restricted from posting on the location-based social newsfeed until June 11. The Nasdaq-listed company is taking measures with strengthened content screening efforts “to establish a more healthy and orderly social networking space” (our translation).
Momo saw its share price fall 10.3% to $28.97 by market close Friday following the announcement. A company spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by TechNode on Monday.
Another dating app, Tantan, made a parallel announcement on Friday night, saying its social feature, “Moments,” would be suspended for a month as it is conducts a comprehensive investigation and works to enhance its screening capabilities.
The incident follows Tantan’s removal from major Chinese Android app stores in late April. Tantan responded by saying the removal was due to the “violations” of relevant rules and it had launched a total investigation on the platform.
It remains unknown when Tantan will be available on app stores again, according to The Beijing News citing a company representative. Momo, a bigger rival, had acquired the company in a $600 million buyout in February 2018. Shares of Momo fell 6.8% to $34.36 by market close on April 29.
The Chinese government is ramping up efforts to rein in illicit content in a series of regulatory moves aimed at the country’s social networking apps. Alibaba’s workplace communication platform DingTalk also announced on Friday that it would close its community function for a month, as it was “required by relevant regulators to remove non-compliant content” (our translation).
Chinese instant messaging platforms are notorious sources for online pornography and illegal activity. Momo, known by Chinese netizens as “a magical tool to get laid,” was reportedly used by sex workers for soliciting as early as 2014. Tantan had been censured by local media last month for allowing sex services available through the platform, just days before it was removed from app stores.
Update: this story was updated to reflect Tantan’s social feature suspension on Friday.