Chinese authorities shut down multiple dating apps after hundreds of thousands of customers complained that the sexy women they were chatting with online turned out to be artificial intelligence (AI) bots.
A dozen dating apps run by 21 firms in China have been closed down over fraud allegations, according to a report by the New Express (via the South China Morning Post). Clients who were seeking dates online found themselves communicating with AI computer programs in some of the apps.
Customers also complained that after paying to watch videos with sexual content in the other apps, they were unable to view the films.
Over 600 suspects linked to the alleged fraud have been arrested by the authorities. Operating under different company names, the syndicate members were spread across 13 provinces and cities in China such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou and Shenzhen.
The department of public security in southern Guangdong Province stated that the scam defrauded hundreds of thousands of customers’ money totaling over 1 billion yuan ($154 million). Moucheng, one of the terminated apps, was found to have victimized over a million users who paid a total of 340 million yuan ($52 million).
According to the authorities, the apps’ fraudulent activities were discovered in August when they found that some dating apps were asking users to pay a 200 yuan ($30.64) “VIP” fee to chat with “sexy girls”.