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Dating site reprimanded over ads on 1D app for children

dating website Zoosk has been ordered to ensure it places its ads appropriately after they appeared on an app for young fans of One Direction.

The app - a game called Date One Direction (D1D) - showed banner and full-screen ads from Zoosk featuring images of men and women and help to "meet local singles!".

One banner that appeared across the top of the screen featured icons labelled "browse", "chat", "flirt" and "date", with the accompanying offer of a free download of the site.

The free D1D cartoon-style game, which is classified 9+ in Apple's app classification system, gives fans the chance to build virtual relationships with members of the boyband.

Childnet International complained to the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK that the ads encouraged children to talk to strangers and had been inappropriately and irresponsibly placed within the app.

Zoosk said it did not target children and had taken immediate steps to ensure they were removed.

Zoosk also said it did not believe that the D1D app was suitable for children, highlighting that it included a game in which users were congratulated for their French kissing ability, and further games where, once users had become a band member's "girlfriend", they could treat them to breakfast in bed or a bubble bath.

hnews@ herald.ie