A girl with pseudonym Linlin from Chengdu broke up with her boyfriend recently after he failed a “boyfriend loyalty test” she commissioned online. She paid for a female staff from an online shop to chat with her boyfriend to see if her boyfriend could be seduced.
Customers, no matter male or female, can pay from 1 to 100 yuan for a female or male staff from the online shop to chat with his or her lover and see if he or she could be seduced. However, most loyalty test service providers on taobao.com, the largest online shopping platform owned by Alibaba, display pictures of pretty girls to advertise their “boyfriend loyalty test” offering.
Linlin’s boyfriend was one of those who failed the test.
Screenshot of taobao.com loyalty test shops
In the service introduction section, one of the most popular shops claims, “We can satisfy your curiosity with more than 300 professional staff”; “the result of the test will be 100% accurate if three professional staff (pretending to be girlfriends) conduct the test, 80% with two, and 50% with one”, and “if your boyfriend or girlfriend betrays you, we will offer a free service to console your broken heart.”
Service introduction of a loyalty test provider on taobao.com
The comment section of the shop only has favorable comments. One of the customers said “The lady staff was quite responsible. She totally understood me and knew what to do once I told her my requirement. And I will hire her again next time when I want to test my husband.”
A Weibo user in favor of this service said, “This product is small yet very helpful to see whether the man really loves you or not. It is difficult to trust even if the man says ‘I love you’ or ‘marry me’”.
While some failed the test like Linlin’s boyfriend, some passed without realizing they were being “tested”.
This online service has raised controversy not only because of the conflicts it caused among couples, but also because of questions related to its credibility and ethics. Some media have noted that the loyalty test can be used for couples, friends or anyone you want to test as long as you have their QQ numbers, WeChat accounts or any other way to contact them.
Profit is not everything
Some people compare the loyalty test to entrapment, a legal practice by which law enforcement authorities induce a man or woman to commit a crime which he or she would have been unlikely to commit.
“Never test people’s bottom line, no matter how much you trust them”, one netizen claimed, “Your marriage is dead at the moment you begin to suspect it.”
Zhang Xuemei, deputy director of the Youth Development Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute for Social Research in Chengdu, said that values should be taken into consideration when it comes to developing commercial services which are determined by social demand.
“Human nature is vulnerable, and both parties will be hurt no matter what the result is. Mutual trust will be harmed if the boy knows he was tested even when he passed the test; while if he failed, the couple might break up,” Zhang said.
Regulations governing the Internet should be enhanced before such products are put into the market, according to Zhang.