A teacher in Anhui Province said she was left shocked after a strange exchange on a local government WeChat account with a chatbot.
The woman surnamed Jiang said on Wednesday night she sent a query to the Guichi municipal account, which is set up to solicit questions from the public about local issues.
While her question was not reported, the answers were cryptic and a little scary: "Nobody will call you deaf if you don't talk," read one.
When she resent her message, the bot responded, "I seem to hear a swarm of mosquitoes buzzing."
"How could an official account send such strange replies? It is unbelievable," Jiang told Xinhua News Agency.
The Guichi government on Thursday apologized for the social media snafu on Sina Weibo.
The account's bot, powered by software called The Yellow Chick, had malfunctioned, said a local employee surnamed Dong with China Unicom, which maintains the account.
The account and bot are currently running normally, Dong added.