Alibaba’s second-hand e-commerce platform has come under the spotlight after a user went to the police over explicit and aggressive messages that targeted her daughter, reported Hongxing News. The user had been using the Xianyu app to sell her daughter’s old clothes and had encountered such messages in the past. However, the extreme nature of recent messages made her fear for her family’s safety.

Why it matters: The case demonstrates the fine balance between protecting user safety and maintaining an open marketplace for China’s used good selling platform operators.

  • The companies may be overlooking key safety issues and criminal activity as they vie for market share. Xianyu users have been caught selling unlicensed medicine and cigarettes, as well as solicitation and used underwear in recent years.
  • Other operators in China’s fast-growing second hand online goods market include JD.Com and 58.Com’s Zhuanzhuan.

“We find this inappropriate behavior completely unacceptable. Xianyu takes the interests of our users seriously. We have policies and programs in place to safeguard them. In this case, we moved swiftly to assist the complainant and the police, and we understand the suspect has been arrested. We will continue to take action against users who violate the law or our marketplace terms and conditions.”

—Xianyu spokesperson

Details: User Zhang Qian has been using the platform for years to sell clothes bought for her daughter, a former child model. Although she had received unpleasant messages before, one user persistently threatened her daughter which sexual abuse earlier this month, even creating multiple new accounts after Zhang blocked him.

  • Zhang said that because her personal address is on each package she sends out, she feels especially vulnerable.
  • The user has sold over 200 items of clothing over two years. However, she has been increasingly receiving disturbing messages such as requests for videos of her daughter’s feet.
  • Shenzhen police has arrested the person and the case is ongoing.

Rachel Zhang is a reporting intern in TechNode's Shanghai office. She is earning a master's degree in journalism at the University of Hong Kong and holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering....

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