Chinese blogger says Tesla threatens them with defamation lawsuit

Chinese bloggers claim that they are threatened by Tesla’s legal action for posting negative content about the American automaker because it is fighting a wave of bad publicity in the world’s largest auto market.

The electric car company set up an account for its legal department in China on the popular Chinese Weibo Weibo this month. Some users claimed that the account was used to send them private messages warning of defamation lawsuits.

Public sentiment in China, one of Tesla’s largest markets, seems to have begun to oppose the California-based automaker in recent months A series of disputes Involving customers’ complaints about suspected vehicle breakdowns.

In recent days, at least two accounts on the Chinese version of Douyin have published a letter apologizing for videos that mention Tesla’s non-existent quality issues because they claim to have received legal warnings from the car company.

By threatening to use legal measures against critics, Tesla will follow the example set by Chinese technology companies including Tencent. Sue the blogger According to the country’s defamation laws.

Such lawsuits usually require withdrawal, apology and compensation.

One of the accounts, “Ruifeng Motors”, stated that it would “rethink deeply” after the release of a video at the end of May, which suggested that a new Tesla car had a brake failure before leaving the showroom. The account admits that these claims are “without factual basis.”

On Wednesday, a woman protested over suspected brake failure at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, which intensified anger towards Tesla on the Internet. She admitted on Toutiao, a news aggregation app produced by TikTok owner Bytedance, that she has been In the “extreme” push the company to demand compensation.

She had previously called on Tesla to hand over the data of its vehicles to regulators and threatened to sue the company if it fails to do so.

On the same day, a blogger “Five Thousand Year Old Rabbit” released a screenshot of the news he claimed came from Tesla’s threat to file a lawsuit against Toutiao, and apologized to the automaker for any offense. The blogger called Tesla a “junk company” and accused it of acting like a “rogue.”

The blogger also insisted that he did not fabricate any content related to Tesla and added: “I also hope that everyone will not create hostility. [towards Tesla] Due to quality problems, I especially hope that the problem will not rise to the first level [of] Discussions between China and the United States. ”

He told the British “Financial Times” that Tesla’s so-called warning has brought “inconvenience to my normal work and life”, but refused to discuss the matter further.

Tesla, led by billionaire Elon Musk, faces a propaganda nightmare in China, despite increasing pressure from local competitors © Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on the activities of its Chinese legal department.

The American group led by billionaire Elon Musk has faced a propaganda nightmare in China in recent months Increasing competition Competitors from the local area.

Chinese state media criticized Tesla for initially saying that it would not negotiate with people who made unreasonable demands, claiming that it did not take customer complaints seriously after the Shanghai Auto Show incident.This motivates automakers Public apology.

American independent auto analyst Lei Xing likens Tesla’s problems in China to a “soap opera”, paying in installments every day or every week.

Tesla is in a leading position in the sales of high-end passenger vehicles in China’s electric vehicle market. According to data from the China Passenger Vehicle Association, its sales in China in May increased by 29% month-on-month to 33,463 vehicles.

Out of safety and national security considerations, Chinese regulators have stepped up scrutiny of the company.

In March of this year, some military bases banned Tesla vehicles due to concerns that the cameras and sensors of Tesla vehicles may be used to collect sensitive data. Tesla denies that its cars are used for espionage.

In May of this year, Tesla set up a data center in China to comply with local laws and prohibit the transmission of data abroad.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang