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Hot Chinese Ask-a-Celebrity Mobile App Mysteriously Goes Dark

  • Fenda’s abrupt silence raises speculation about censorship
  • Backers included the son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin

It was China’s latest hot social media trend, where anyone could pay hundreds of dollars to fire off questions at celebrities such as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” swordswoman Zhang Ziyi. And then, abruptly, it wasn’t.

Two weeks ago, the vastly popular Fenda went dark. Much of its content was removed and celebs like Zhang and the entrepreneur-socialite son of media mogul Wang Jianlin fell silent. Users signing on are greeted with a message explaining that the service is getting an upgrade (before digressing into a discussion about The Scorpions). While the app’s founders aren’t talking, local media including speculate that Fenda has become the latest victim of a widening crackdown on free-wheeling social media.