Followers of Chinese actor and singer Wang Yibo flooded the review section of a newly released book to elevate the popularity of their beloved star.
Bei Tajian was surprised to see reviews for her new book flooding in on China’s biggest rating site, Douban. But she was not amused.
The editor of the Chinese translation of “In Memory of Memory” by Russian poet and novelist Maria Stepanova was shocked to see that a majority of the reviews were nothing but copy-and-paste feedback from one actual reader.
She was even more surprised to discover that the redundant reviews were left by fans of Chinese actor and singer Wang Yibo, who seemed bent on encouraging others to open social media accounts and leave positive reviews of their idol’s works.
“As an editor, what I enjoy most is feedback from readers. I’ll read every short comment carefully,” Bei wrote on Douban, imploring Wang’s fans to refrain from commenting on her book. “However, (after the fans’ actions) even if there are sincere reader comments, they will be covered in this pile of garbage. The book on Douban no longer belongs to the author, translator, editor, or reader.”
Bei’s experience is the latest in what has become a trend on the Chinese internet when so-called fan circles vie to “cultivate accounts” — either real or fake — to elevate the status of their beloved celebrities. They do so by leaving positive reviews on reputable websites involving favored stars and their works, a practice they believe helps legitimize and elevate the stardom and popularity of their icons.
Such fan circles are also known to excessively purchase their idols’ albums, movies, and other items to boost sales; fake social media traffic; and report undesirable depictions of their favorite celebrities to hosting platforms.
The trend has gained such notoriety that China’s top cyberspace watchdog announced last year that online platforms may not disrupt the online environment by creating fake accounts or hijacking online traffic. In July, the Cyberspace Administration of China also announced a two-month campaign to verify and delete illegal accounts by professional fan circle trolls. Continue to read the full article here
– This article is written by Zhang Wanqing and Wang Xuandi. It originally appeared on Sixth Tone.