China's state media attack on Apple appears to have backfired

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A report by the state-run China Central Television that intended to smear Apple as bad for consumers has instead harmed the network's remaining credibility after a local celebrity apparently flubbed his lines when posting phony outrage as a disgruntled "Apple fan."

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal "China Real Time Report" blog, the Communist Party's CCTV initially aired a "Consumer Rights Day" broadcast on March 15th that celebrated consumer power, complete with song and dance routines.

The broadcast mixed in accusations that Apple was "biased against Chinese consumers in its warranty and customer service policies," along with implications that Volkswagen was selling defective cars in China.

Post around 820


Following the 3/15 CCTV broadcast, a message posted to the Sina Weibo (China's version of Twitter) account of Taiwanese-American actor (and reportedly a spokesman for Samsung's Galaxy products) Peter Ho stated, with the hash tag "#315 on the move" (a reference to the broadcast):

"Cannot believe Apple is playing so many dirty tricks in customer service. As an Apple fan, I feel hurt. Won?t you [Apple] feel ashamed in front of Steve Jobs? Won?t you feel ashamed in front of those young people who sell their kidneys for your products? You dare to bully consumers simply because you are a famous brand. Need to send out at about 8:20 pm."

Users on Weibo immediately noted a series of negative messages posted at 8:20pm by several Weibo celebrities. Somewhat ironically, apparently all of the prominent 8:20 posts (including Ho's) were posted using Apple products, either an iPhone or iPad (below).

Post around 820


The orchestrated posts kicked off speculation that Ho and other prominent Weibo users had been supplied with talking points (and likely paid) as part of a state sponsored effort to spread CCTV's propaganda via social networking.

Ho subsequently denied posting the message, then added that he suspected that his account had been hacked, then eventually deleted all three posts from the Twitter-like service. A backlash of critical posts then followed, popularizing the hashtag #PostAround820 until the microblogging service began censoring the tag.

"I?ve heard that CCTV asked several Weibo celebrities to post negative things about Apple around 8:20," one user posted, "As a result, Mr. Liu, Zheng Yuanjie, and their compatriots were outed by Peter Ho?s post at 8:20, so now Peter Ho is pretending his phone was stolen and someone posted on his Weibo, and deleting comments on his Weibo as fast as lightning. Tens of thousands of comments have been trimmed down to a couple thousand."

"Would the all-powerful CCTV please tell us which brands haven?t discriminated against the people of this Heavenly Kingdom? Post around 8:20," another user sarcastically posted in response.

Another wrote, "The 3.15 consumer right show is much more disgusting than the companies it exposed. At least Apple still offers post-sale customer service. How about those victims of Sanlu?s toxic baby powder? Has anyone taken care of them?"

One "vocal critic on Weibo" commented: "Which exposed company is the most surprising to you on this year?s 3.15? My answer is: the state-run television of our country, which turned a blind eye to the thousands of dead pigs floating on the water source of the country?s biggest city, but put all emphasis on a cell phone company who doesn?t replace back cover for its customers. I don?t know where the heart of this country go.""The only party poised to gain from the scandal, it seems, is Apple, for whom CCTV?s consumer rights expose may prove a blessing in disguise"

A report by journalist Liz Carter, who reports on Chinese social networking, stated "the 8:20 incident has already been picked up by every major Chinese news organization, and is sure to be a public relations nightmare for the celebrities, CCTV, and Sina Weibo. The only party poised to gain from the scandal, it seems, is Apple, for whom CCTV?s consumer rights expose may prove a blessing in disguise."

The Wall Street Journal stated that "the reaction on Weibo points to rising mistrust of the country?s state-run media outlets among Chinese Internet users, who have increasing access to alternate sources of information via social media."

"News gathering in China, where censorship is a norm and freedom of the press is limited at best, is frequently mired in corruption," the report noted, adding that "Stories are often driven by financial incentives or government directives. CCTV has been particularly aggressive in its annual Consumer Rights Day reports, including last year when it slammed McDonald?s Corp. with damaging allegations the fast food giant sold food that servers had dropped on the floor."

CCTV has previously been criticized for offering thinly veiled propaganda as news; two years ago the network's news program profiled the Chinese-built Chengdu J-10, depicting it targeting and destroying another plane with a missile.

The targeted plane in the video clip was later identified as being a US fighter jet, and the entire video sequence ended up actually being footage taken from the 1986 movie "Top Gun."

China has shown a tremendous appetite for Apple's products, resulting in such a massive expansion of the company's Mac and iOS sales in the region that the company recently changed how it reports revenue to highlight the growth in the Greater China region.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    ochymingochyming Posts: 474member


    The Dictatorship Party is afraid of Apple?
    I guess so.

    Nah!
  • Reply 2 of 43
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,457member
    ochyming wrote: »

    The Dictatorship Party is afraid of Apple?
    I guess so.

    Nah!

    Totally uncalled for!!! It's the democratically elected dictatorship party?
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Apparently nothing is real in china lol
  • Reply 4 of 43
    ngrlvrngrlvr Posts: 24member
    The irony of an establishment outlet (WSJ) blasting another establishment outlet (CCTV) for putting out propaganda.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    And some people claim there aren't paid anti-Apple shills… 

  • Reply 6 of 43
    You mean the Chinese social media users are savvy enough to identify State-sponsored anti-Apple concern trolling when they see it?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    And some people claim there aren't paid anti-Apple shills… 

    That guy who posted RIM's "WAKE UP" flash mob performance video on YouTube (and knew ahead of time it would take place) swears up and down on a stack of holy books that he's not a paid shill for RIM.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    I wouldn't be surprised if most of the so called outraged "Apple-fans" attacking the company on the internet are also bought and paid for.
  • Reply 9 of 43
    I read in another article that the CCTV show claimed that in other countries, but not China, when a iPhone breaks, the owners get a warranty reset, ie another year from the date it gets fixed.

    CCTV obviously didn't do any research.

    If that was true, everyone would be purposely breaking iPhones every 11.5 months.

    There were also claims that CCTV uses the threat of exposure on the 3/15 program as a way to get advertising from soon to be exposed companies, usually foreign ones.

    Blackmail China style
  • Reply 10 of 43
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member


    I have [insert Apple product here] and [cite news article here] I [give personal example of same issue] and I am afraid I will be selling my [list Apple products here] and will be buying [insert competitors product here] because [insert glowing review of competitor product here including negative Apple saying of the day].


     


    [Post to Appleinsider at x:xx]


     


    Nah, I just can't see it happening.


     


    /s

  • Reply 11 of 43
    slurpy wrote: »
    I wouldn't be surprised if most of the so called outraged "Apple-fans" attacking the company on the internet are also bought and paid for.


    Hmm, I thought Apple fans were supposed to be a Cult? Mindless iSheep?


    You mean we iSheep can get paid? Sign me up :)

    Are iSheep a cult or are they paid, you can't have it both ways ;)
  • Reply 12 of 43
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,204member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post



    I wouldn't be surprised if most of the so called outraged "Apple-fans" attacking the company on the internet are also bought and paid for.


     


     


     


    Watch out, people will start thinking you are a conspiracy theorist if you start saying things like that :)


     


    I think it would be naive to think that social media manipulation is not widespread. You can pretty much guarantee that SamDung uses such techniques.


     


    Before anyone starts on me, I don't think every anti-Apple post on the net is some kind of propaganda! But I think you would be foolish to believe we live in a world without such 'underhand' tactics.

  • Reply 13 of 43
    patsupatsu Posts: 429member
    And some people claim there aren't paid anti-Apple shills… 

    I read a few Chinese articles about this incident. Couldn't stop laughing.

    In a gist, people suspect/believe that the mastermind is Samsung because Peter Ho is one of their spokespersons as early as last September. Before this incident broke out, there was already a rumor about a few celebs and big time bloggers "bought" to smear Apple. Unfortunately, the "Post @ 8:20" note got included into the blog text, causing widespread suspicions, especially when other negative posts were launched at about the same time.

    Netizens are now mocking CCTV, Peter Ho and the participating bloggers. e.g.,

    "We are not afraid of a God-like opponent, but we are afraid of our own pigheaded comrades"

    "Damn Peter Ho knows how to collect money but doesn't know how to post properly"

    etc.

    Whatever the truth is, it is rather comical now.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    And some people claim there aren't paid anti-Apple shills… 



     


    They aren't paid.


     


    They just aren't executed.


     


    image

  • Reply 15 of 43
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Spacepower View Post



    If that was true, everyone would be purposely breaking iPhones every 11.5 months.


     


    That's bullshit.


     


    It would be occurring every 11.9 months.


     


    image

  • Reply 16 of 43
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by patsu View Post





    I read a few Chinese articles about this incident. Couldn't stop laughing.



    In a gist, people suspect/believe that the mastermind is Samsung because Peter Ho is one of their spokespersons as early as last September. Before this incident broke out, there was already a rumor about a few celebs and big time bloggers "bought" to smear Apple. Unfortunately, the "Post @ 8:20" note got included into the blog text, causing widespread suspicions, especially when other negative posts were launched at about the same time.



    Netizens are now mocking CCTV, Peter Ho and the participating bloggers. e.g.,



    "We are not afraid of a God-like opponent, but we are afraid of our own pigheaded comrades"



    "Damn Peter Ho knows how to collect money but doesn't know how to post properly"



    etc.



    Whatever the truth is, it is rather comical now.


    Without further evidence, I believe this is the Chinese government doing. To rally people for something else (foreigner's greed, nationalism) instead of what they are supposed to focus (freedom). Notice it's not all about Apple but foreign corporations.

  • Reply 17 of 43
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    I have [insert Apple product here] and [cite news article here] I [give personal example of same issue] and I am afraid I will be selling my [list Apple products here] and will be buying [insert competitors product here] because [insert glowing review of competitor product here including negative Apple saying of the day].



     


    ??[??????????]?[??????][????????????????????[???????????????[?????????]???[?????????????????????????????]?


     


    Fixed that for you (in regards to this story).

  • Reply 18 of 43
    imgmkrimgmkr Posts: 13member
    da BigBrother is in every where!
    not just a government but corporation with money and power!!
    people must beware of any and all media... it's gonna be stressful times ahead.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    patsupatsu Posts: 429member
    matrix07 wrote: »
    Without further evidence, I believe this is the Chinese government doing. To rally people for something else (foreigner's greed, nationalism) instead of what they are supposed to focus (freedom). Notice it's not all about Apple but foreign corporations.

    You are free to believe what you want. You have no proof too. ^_^

    The Chinese should know their systems and CCTV better than us. I'll just read their comments for fun.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    It's becoming globally fashionable to bas Apple...
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