Scammers thrive on short-video platforms, peddle fake products, pyramid schemes

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/4 23:08:40

A netizen views a performance by two web hosts on Douyin, a Chinese short video platform. Photo: IC

Although Chinese authorities have been cracking down on e-commerce fraud in recent years, it seems that scammers have found new avenues on short-video platforms.

"Short-video platforms are perfect for creating and spreading user-generated content, making it difficult to regulate as ads serve as a disguise," an anonymous staff member working for Chinese short-video platform Kuaishou told the Global Times on Thursday.

According to a research report released by the China Netcasting Services Association in May, the number of short-video users in China has reached 648 million in 2018, with short-video app use accounting for 11.4 percent of total online time, the second-largest application type after instant messaging. 

Along with the booming industry come fake products, including medicine, widely peddled through links attached to short videos. Some even established pyramid selling schemes. 

The anonymous Kuaishou employee said the platform will intercept a short video if it shows pyramid selling characteristics. But he noted that links under videos need to be examined by e-commerce department of the platform first, making it difficult to timely regulate such behavior. 

For example, some registrants on Weishi, a short-video platform under Tencent, were found selling health care products who claimed the products can cure many diseases including cancer, leukemia and brain paralysis, Nanfang Metropolis Daily reported on Wednesday. 

The products were made by a company called Meijike, which had been identified as an illegal pyramid scheme by a court last year, the report said.

One box of the product was sold at about 500 yuan ($73). People who help attract new buyers can get 140 yuan for each box. "You can earn 10,000 yuan in one day with only one mobile phone," a seller was quoted as saying in the report.


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