China has called for a campaign of repression in the line of contests that have soared in popularity in the last few months.
The country’s media and publishing regulator said there was “vulgar and tawdry” content in some of the questionnaires.
Companies must avoid the promotion of extravagance or sensationalism and focus on the dissemination of “healthy, beneficial knowledge,” he added.
In some cases, up to six million people have registered to play an individual test.
At least two of the main applications are now the display of messages saying that their tests were temporarily stopped.
How do these tests work?
The games tend to follow the same format as the questionnaires, such as the HEADQUARTERS of the Trivia, which has become very popular in the united states.
Played on smart phones in real time, they are free to enter and anyone can download the many quiz apps that have appeared.
Hosted live by a real presenter of the contest, the competitors have to answer a series of multiple-choice questions.
Normally you only have ten seconds to respond (presumably to try and limit the trap). And get a wrong answer means you’re out.
Those who stay to the end of the test, sharing the prize money.
How much can you win?
Rival companies have tried to the other to attract players, which leads to an escalation in prize money.
In January, quiz app Chongding Dahui (which translates roughly as “race to the top”) began offering an award of 100,000 yuan (Â£11,240; $15,750) for their night test.
That prompted others to comment, even with bigger prizes – and to date, billions of yuan have been committed.
But, because many people are playing in each of the tests, there are often tens or hundreds of thousands of winners, which means that the payment can be relatively small.
Profits are generally sent directly to WeChat or Alipay accounts, the two dominant digital payment companies in China.’Self-achievement… and a way to earn money”
By the BBC in Beijing Staff
Money plays an important role in the popularity of these real-time tests.
If you get a bit of luck, you can earn about 15 yuan (Â£1.70; $2.36) per hour – which is more than some part-time jobs that pay in China. So for some people, especially in small Chinese cities and peoples, it is a way of earning money.
But others say the tests give them a sense of achievement. Because the questions are varied and random, to improve the education of the people may lose to the less educated, and children can beat the adults. And people can – and do – show your scores on social media.
The fashion competition is based on the popularity of China in vivo applications. The flows have become a major source of entertainment for the people in the less developed regions that have a lot of leisure time, but little money to spend, or places to go. And when the videos began to be bored, happy testing reignited the excitement.
While there are questions about poetry, literature and history, not all are so serious. There are celebrity gossip in there as well – and this is the type of evidence that seem to have given rise to the fear that the public is not being educated, but instead of that, to be deceived. If you are free to enter, how do they make money?
The most high-profile of the testing charge of the size of search giant Baidu, e-retailer Alibaba, video game maker NetEase, a news feed of the platform Toutiao and the son of Dalian Wanda founder Wang Jianlin, Wang Sicong.
In other words, they are all strangers to make money.
To test sustainable, the companies that run the applications are recruiting advertisers and sponsors.
Much as with the primetime television, the ads are displayed throughout the broadcast.
And, of course, technology firms hope that the users will come for testing, then hang around and use other services.
But not all are convinced that it is more than a fad.
“If you ask me why I do this, to be honest, I really don’t know if you can make money,” said Zhou Hongyi, chairman of Qihoo, another of the companies participating in the test applications.
“But from the user’s perspective, I think this is very funny”.
What are the regulators saying?
A great challenge for the competition of providers is to make sure not to attract the attention of government censors.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a notice saying some of the questionnaires were essentially, click-bait, and describes the contents as “vulgar and tawdry”.
He added that “the extravagance or sensationalism” should not be promoted and that “mammonism” – that is to say, the greedy pursuit of riches – should not be encouraged.
The excessive marketing for the shows was also banned, the regulator said.
Instead, the questionnaires should promote “healthy, beneficial knowledge that promoted the core socialist values,” according to the announcement.
Meanwhile, the anchors who host the questionnaires need to have “appropriate qualifications and be morally respectable”.
The new guidance comes amid a broader crackdown on online content.
Beijing has carried out a campaign against internet addiction, and the country has seen a shutdown of the football sites and blogs.