Blued, the top gay dating app in China, temporarily stopped allowing new users to sign up amid accusations it does nothing to protect underage users. A report this week alleged that some underage users contracted HIV from older men met through the service.
The decision to stop new sign-ups comes after a week of bad publicity for Blued, which boasts more than 40 million subscribers, according to TechNode.
Qingdoa University researcher Zhang Beichuan released the results of a 10-month investigation alleging many underage users had been pressured into having sex with older men and some had even contracted HIV.
Caixan Weekly, a Chinese financial news source, recently published a cover story on the research and the allegations that Blued knew users as young as 12 signed on to the service but did nothing about it.
Blued, through a statement, said minors have never been allowed to use the site.
"Blued has always forbidden juveniles from logging on to and using the app," the company said in the statement released on social media.
But the company said it will shut down new registrations to investigate the safeguards in place to prevent underage use.
Peng Xiaohui of the China Sexology Association told the Post he'd been "warning Blued's founder to make efforts to prevent minors from using the app."
"Now the report has proved my worries to be true," Peng said. "The public should respect the lawful rights and interests of the gay community. And the app must take responsibility to protect minors and abide by the law."
State-run media outlets in China report that as of June, the number of people with HIV jumped 14 percent from the prior year.
While China's LGBTQ scene has grown in recent years, the nation remains conservative about homosexuality.
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