Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Ad Seeking ‘Temporary Boyfriends’ to Fund Young Woman's Travels Is a Fake

An online ad that set the Internet abuzz with moral outrage - one in which a 19-year-old Chinese woman sought to fund her travels by pimping herself out to "temporary boyfriends" - has turned out to be a fake.

The story, which was picked up by media outlets worldwide, had been created to promote a dating/hookup smartphone app called Youjia - which is pretty much a Chinese version of Tinder.

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The rouse came to light when China's State Internet Information Office issued a ruling against the Shanghai-based developer of the app, Shanghai Zhangyi Network Technology Co., that banned Youjia's sale throughout the country.

"The company crossed the line for promotion," the State Internet Information Office said in a statement, according to Shanghai Daily.

Crossing the line included publishing a fake news story titled "Body for Traveling," a ribald tale of the sexual exploits of an attractive 19-year-old woman named Ju Peng. Peng supposedly financed her travels through China by exchanging sexual favors with so-called "temporary boyfriends" - whom she met through Youjia.

According to the ad, the young woman was seeking men who were "good looking, under 30, taller than 1.75 meters and, of course, rich." It's no surprise that her criteria seems to describe what would be Youjia's target demographic. 

The ad also said that the lucky men would "get a whole night with me, my undivided attention, and a chance to show themselves off in the company of a truly beautiful girl."

The story "contained fake and unethical content," the State Internet Information Office said.

Another story, titled "Sex in an Excavator," told of how a young couple, who were trapped in an earth mover, decided to have sex while waiting for rescue workers to arrive. And, of course, the two just happened to have met through Youjia.

The developer of the app reportedly admitted to its marketing mistakes and said it would work toward settling the matter with Chinese regulators.

The Youjia app has 30 million users, with a target audience of men in their late teens to mid twenties.  In the iTunes app store, it has a 17-year-old age restriction for downloading, and comes with warnings of suggestive themes with some sexual content and nudity.

Among the media outlets that fell for the hoax and ran the story include, the New York Post, New York Daily News, U.K.'s Daily Telegraph, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, Yahoo News, International Business Times, and this publication - China Topix.

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