Messaging apps have always been a tool for us to communicate with one another. There was a time when we used to use the native messaging feature on phones to send text messages to one another, but that is now a thing of the past.
Some may view messaging as a utility, but fundamentally, messaging is the most important reasons for owning a smartphone. This is why we have seen messaging apps such as LINE, WeChat, Viber, Telegram, BeeTalk and more explode in popularity over the past few years.
In October last year, LINE revealed that it had 170 million monthly active users, out of over 560 million registered users. WeChat on the other hand, revealed that it had over 468.1 million active users in the third quarter of 2014.
With the high number of users on these messaging platforms, it’s evident that many turn to them not just as tools to connect with friends and family, but also to discover other users through built-in features on these messaging apps. Within WeChat, for instance, there’s a nifty ‘People Nearby’ tab which allows you to browse and search for similar users near you, and connect with them. This is the same for BeeTalk, where you can discover new friends in the vicinity and chat them up.
While these features are built in to encourage more user activity, as well as to boost the social aspects of the app, many see them as new avenues to look for extramarital affairs and intercourse. AsiaOne did a story on this a while back, where they spoke to WeChat user George (an alias), 39, who claimed to have used WeChat to hook up with over 20 ladies in six months.
“I begin with small speak earlier than paying a lady compliments to make her really feel particular. I lead into the subject of intercourse by asking about her intercourse life and from there, the texts develop into extra flirtatious and sexual – typically, we might find yourself sending raunchy pictures or movies to one another,” George told Asia One.
Repercussions? Definitely not for George, as his spouse has yet to discover his various hunts on the chat app. In just a few clicks, George said, he is able to sign out of the app.
We Saw It With Our Own Eyes
So how true is it that creepy guys lurk around on WeChat every day, on the hunt for unsuspecting female users? To test this out for ourselves, we signed up for an account as a female on WeChat, and switched on the ‘Discover’ feature, allowing other users to contact us. For purposes of the experiment, we limited contact to texting only, and no telephone calls or meet ups (for obvious reasons).
And what we found out was astonishing: within an hour of switching on the discovery feature on WeChat, we received over 100 greeting messages from male users near us. We chatted with some of them, and over the subsequent days, most of the male users made clear their intent to ask us (the ‘female’ user) out. One was even more direct and went straight for the kill, posting sexual photos in hopes that we would reciprocate. There were also others who shared their sexual experiences with us.
Interestingly, more than 80% of the male users whom we chatted with asked us the same question: “Are you local Chinese?”, indicating a preference for local Singaporean girls. We usually said yes, following which, they would ask about our occupations and where we lived. There were even some who confessed their love for us, despite not having prior meet-ups at all.
Most of the interactions took place at night time, as most of the male users were out earning their keep during the day. The frequency of messages and connection requests also went up at nighttime.
While this experiment on WeChat was taking place, we did the same on another chat app called BeeTalk. We observed similar behaviours.
We ended this social experiment in just 3 days, though we still get the occasional “Hey babe” from some persistent guys.
Now that we’ve seen how this function really works for Singapore-based girls, should guys even try, since they can now see that they’re just one in thousands of guys? It must be obvious that it’s impossible to fight for attention, even for the desperate.
As for girls, it’s important to remember that as we begin to move towards a digital lifestyle, with our digital footprints all over the Internet, we should probably be more careful when we connect with strangers online. You know what they say: better safe than sorry.
This article is part of our Vulcan Post After Dark Series. Have a dark story that you think more people should know about? Drop me a note at email@example.com. You will be kept anonymous.