E-commerce sites in China and the US alike have taken action against price gouging for face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic that’s made them hot commodities. Now, China’s biggest social platform is taking things a step further by suing users who allegedly sold shoddy masks.
WeChat announced on Sunday that it filed lawsuits against five people who used its platform to sell fake masks. WeChat owner Tencent is seeking a public apology and 1 million yuan (USD 143,000) from each defendant. Poor-quality masks have been a recurring problem for local e-commerce platforms. The lawsuits, filed in Shenzhen last Tuesday, are just one measure that WeChat is taking to fight sellers taking advantage of the deadly pandemic.
Since January, Tencent says it has punished more than 3,200 accounts and 1,800 groups that posted information on banned items like wildlife, medicine, and medical equipment, or committed privacy violations. The announcement from WeChat didn’t specify which privacy violations occurred, but some Wuhan residents have reportedly been doxxed over fears of spreading the virus. The company also said it punished 4,300 official accounts and more than 400 mini programs for offenses that include fraud related to masks and donations.
This article first appeared on Abacus News.