100 million reposts to celebrity’s Weibo tweet questioned
China's top Communist youth organization has accused a member of a popular boy band of artificially padding the number of posts and likes on his Weibo post.
The Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) on Sunday posted an article on its Weibo account, saying the 100 million reposts of one of Cai Xukun's Weibo tweet might have been fabricated.
Cai is a member of popular Chinese boy band Nine Percent.
The CYLC central committee showed that the Weibo post has 100 million reposts, but only one million likes, which it considers abnormal. It also said the post was largely reposted by either the celebrity's fan clubs or users without proper usernames, implying they were software-generated.
"Relying on fake numbers are just an illusion[…]This would also corrupt the entertainment industry. So we call on relevant government departments to regulate these accounts," the CYLC central committee said.
Cai posted his MV "Pull Up" on August 2, which was reposted over 100 million times in nine days.
The committee's post sparked a lively discussion, with more than 10,000 reposts and 20,000 comments.
"Reposting an idol's Weibo post is very common," a user said. Others told the central committee to focus on more significant events in the country.
In Chinese, "volume celebrity" is used to describe those who command a huge following on the internet but don't have excellent works.
Wang Junkai, a member of boyband TFboys, gained a Guinness World Records title for the most reposts on a Weibo post - 42,776,438 in 2015. Lu Han, a pop star and actor, also earned a Guinness for a Weibo post with the most comments in 2014.
On Taobao, China's e-commerce platform, 100 reposts cost 10 yuan ($1.5), and 100 comments 30 yuan, a Taobao seller told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"In the digital age, the number is presented as data on the internet, and could determine a celebrity's popularity," said Jiang Haisheng, head of the Journalism and Communication Department at the Shandong University of Political Science and Law.
"Celebrities use the numbers to prove their popularity," He Lingnan, deputy chief of the big data and communications lab at Sun Yat-sen University in South China's Guangdong Province, told the Global Times.
Jiang said the hype of celebrities needs to be tempered.
"While fans who purchase numbers manipulate data, as long as the content is not harmful, it is not a big deal," He said. "The boundaries of supervision need to be clearly defined."
The CYLC is a mass youth organization under the Communist Party of China's leadership. It has 81 million members nationwide.