Tencent sued the operator of mayibangfu.com for 5 million yuan ($775,506) as the latter was suspected of organizing and inducing WeChat official accounts to click ads and trading WeChat accounts. The court awarded Tencent 3 million yuan in compensation.
According to the civil judgment published by China Judgments Online, the mayibangfu.com App and its web were both developed by the defendant Harbin Qifu Technology Co., Ltd., has been ordered to immediately stop the manipulation tactics and publish an apology about the matter.
Qifu Technology, founded in 2015, engages in computer software and hardware development. Its product mayibangfu.com earns profit by helping users register and receive orders. Operators can also set up “reward tasks” on the platform, including App registration, group bargaining, following stores, and viewing pages.
Shanghai Pudong People’s Court, which heard the case, held that in this case, the WeChat official account operators fabricated page views by way of click farming, meaning that the company had been “paying for clicks or inducing clicks”, which infringed on the legitimate rights and interests of WeChat users, advertisers and the two plaintiffs. Further, the manipulative tactic constitutes false publicity and unfair competition.
In addition, Qifu Technology has set up a manual audit link on its mayibangfu.com platform. The company is well aware of the large task of viewing and clicking on articles and ads on WeChat’s official accounts, yet it permits the platform to list so many tasks of such kind, and encourages users to issue and receive orders by setting up “Golden Grant Awards” and “Group Order Mode”.