Chinese man jailed for faking livestream views using 4,600 phones

Chinese man jailed for faking livestream views using 4,600 phonesChinese man jailed for faking livestream views using 4,600 phones
via Weibo
A man in China’s Zhejiang province has been jailed for manipulating livestream views, a scheme that earned him hundreds of thousands of dollars in a just few months.
Key points:
  • The man, identified by his surname Wang, was sentenced to a year and three months in jail and fined 50,000 yuan (approximately $6,900) for “illegal business operations.”
  • The Yinzhou District People’s Procuratorate in Zhejiang province shared the details of the case on April 17.
  • The sentencing reportedly marked the first time someone was punished for fraudulent livestreaming in Zhejiang, which many consider to be the center of China’s livestreaming industry.
The details:
  • Wang’s illegal business started in late 2022 after a friend informed him about the practice known as “brushing,” as per the South China Morning Post. This entails using fake accounts to boost a livestream’s real-time engagement metrics — including views, likes and comments — which would later attract more legitimate viewership.
  • In his confession, Wang admitted to procuring 4,600 smartphones controlled by specialized cloud software. He also bought VPN services and other equipment for his business.
  • Wang said each phone generated 6.65 yuan (less than $1) per day. But in just four months of operation, he made 3 million yuan (about $415,000) from his two studios.
  • Wang bought fake viewer accounts in bulk. While he occasionally encountered problems during registration, he managed to re-register them with ease.
  • Aside from Wang, 17 other people are under investigation for related offenses. Ten have already been convicted, according to the Qianjiang Evening News.
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