After a China Central Television program aired on Friday that was critical of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) customer service record in China, many Chinese consumers chided Apple for its perceived misdeeds on social media platforms like Weibo. However, as Chinese-language social media news aggregator Tea Leaf Nation reports, it appears that at least some of the social media criticisms directed at Apple were manufactured by CCTV.
The conspiracy was inadvertently revealed by Peter Ho, a Taiwanese-American celebrity and Samsung (SSNLF) spokesperson (cue dramatic music), who accidentally left incriminating textual evidence on his Weibo post, which read, “#315isLive# Wow, Apple has so many tricks in its after-sales services. As an Apple fan, I’m hurt. You think this would be acceptable to Steve Jobs? Or to those young people who sold their kidneys [to buy iPads]? It’s really true that big chains treat customers poorly. Post around 8:20.”
After the “Post around 8:20” instructional snippet went viral on Weibo, Peter Ho claimed his phone had been stolen. Soon other popular Chinese celebrities like Mr. Liu and Zheng Yuanji were also implicated in what was dubbed the “820 Party.”
Not long afterwards, Weibo users began to copy and paste a message about the scandal that read in part, “I’ve heard that CCTV asked several Weibo celebrities to post negative things about Apple around 8:20.”