China's top gay dating app stops accepting new users after claims it put minors at risk

Beijing (CNN Business) China's most popular gay dating app has temporarily stopped accepting new users after allegations that it put underage people at risk by letting them sign up.

Blued, which says it has more than 40 million users worldwide, said in a statement Sunday that the week-long halt will enable it to review the claims and make improvements to the app.

The announcement followed a report Saturday by Chinese financial news publication Caixin in which Blued was accused of failing to protect young teenagers. The report cited a researcher who said the app let boys set up profiles in which they falsely claimed to be 18 or older, exposing them to explicit content and sexual exploitation.

Founded by a former police officer, Blued has expanded rapidly in recent years despite homosexuality remaining a delicate subject in China. The app has moved beyond straightforward matchmaking services into live-streaming and gaming. Last year, it raised $100 million in funds, and its CEO has talked about issuing shares in the company on a US stock exchange.

Zhang and the head of an unidentified Chinese LGBT community welfare group told Caixin that some underage users of Blued said they had contracted HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, from people they met through the app.

The company stressed in its statement that it has been putting resources into AIDS prevention and treatment for years and promised to do more to educate its users about the risks. Read more via CNN