Ant Financial chief apologizes following backlash over explicit social network groups

The head of Ant Financial Services Group, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Holdings Ltd, apologized on Tuesday following backlash from Chinese netizens over a social feature in the company's payment app that critics say enabled a sexually explicit dating service. In an internal letter reviewed by Reuters, Chairwoman Lucy Peng said the company had removed a group within the Alipay app's new social feature "circles", including a group called "schoolyard diary" which drew intense fire from Chinese users after its launch on Nov. 24. "These past two days have the most difficult since I had joined Alipay 7 years ago," said Peng, who apologized to users and promised to clamp down on illicit content on the platform.

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