Court voids contract for fake online views

( : 2019-06-04


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Two litigants paid their illicit gains to Beijing Internet Court on Monday after a contract between them dealing with the purchase of online views was declared void.

The plaintiff, surnamed Chang, paid 16,130 yuan ($2,336), while the defendant, surnamed Xu, paid 30,743 yuan, according to a statement from the court, which heard the case — China's first litigation dealing with fake online viewership numbers — on May 23.

Xu made use of an online service provided by Chang that could help artificially increase her online views to attract more users to pay to play her online game, but Xu did not pay Chang the full amount under their so-called contract, and so Chang sued Xu.

After the public hearing, the court declared the contract between the two women void because it damaged the public interest and made cyberspace disorderly. At the same time it ordered the litigants to hand over their illicit gains.

Accurate online viewership figures, such as how many people read an online article or how many users watch an online video, can help the public understand an online product, service or platform, and also be useful for people wanting to evaluate the online market, the court said.

"But the fake number of views in the case is a kind of fraud," it said. "It interferes in users' choice when they want to buy products or services online, and also creates disorder in the cyberspace business environment."

The court sent judicial documents to the capital's Public Security Bureau and the municipal market regulation administration after the hearing, suggesting they increase supervision and law enforcement to further regulate online behavior.