Chinese ads using African children removed

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The children hold up blackboards advertising products and services in China

Chinese online shopping platform Taobao has removed controversial vendors offering personalised video and photo ads featuring African children, following an outcry about exploitation.

Customers could pay for ads with young African children shouting out promotional messages in Chinese.

This quickly sparked concerns over taste, parental consent and what these children were being paid.

Alibaba, which owns Taobao, said it had taken action to remove these vendors.

“We have been made aware of these listings which are posted by third-party sellers on the Taobao marketplace, and we have taken action to remove them and will continue to do so in future, ” it said in a statement to the BBC.

It is unclear if the backlash against the vendors, which was widely debated in mainstream and social media, is what lies behind their removal.

It was earlier suggested that Taobao was investigating some of the vendors, but for breaches of Chinese advertising description law.

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The services being offered by these online vendors included videos, which could be bought for as little as 120 yuan (US$18; £14), and photos available for even less. It was mostly small businesses who used these services to promote their businesses online.

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