1、 Facts of the case
On July 4, 2022, a shop called "leogo pet food" on pinduoduo shopping platform publicized the sale of girls' meat, which attracted the attention of netizens and generally caused public discomfort. Pinduoduo soon said that it had taken off the shelves for the first time and permanently closed the shops involved and contacted the police for investigation. Pinduoduo also said that the owner of the store is Du, 28 years old. The store is self registered, and the historical actual transaction record is zero. The bloody photos uploaded by the store. It comes from a video on the Internet. It is confirmed that it is made by the shopkeeper after taking a screenshot and taking a second P picture... Yunyun
2、 Lawyer analysis
Pinduoduo did not admit its dereliction of duty as a platform, nor did it state how it was willing to take responsibility. Pinduoduo stressed that the history of the store involved was zero, but pinduoduo did not explain that consumers could see 11 transactions. For the above news reports, the lawyer's most prominent feelings are the absurdity and malice of online store publicity, the enthusiasm of crisis public relations of pinduoduo platform, the sophistication of throwing the pot, and the flattery of facing official accountability. Legally, pinduoduo may face the following legal liabilities.
01 legal liability for failure to supervise illegal information
The acts of store owner Du and pinduoduo platform have constituted the crime of provocation and should be investigated for criminal responsibility.
According to the form 20-F annual report submitted by pinduoduo to the securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), pinduoduo had a total revenue of 93.949 billion yuan and a net profit of 13.8 billion yuan in 2021. [i] Most of this revenue of nearly 100 billion yuan comes from the contribution of consumers in Chinese Mainland. Pinduoduo platform has a very significant influence and popularity among consumers in Chinese Mainland. The publicity of selling girls' meat (involving violence, blood and pornography) on pinduoduo platform has had a serious and adverse impact, and the audience is extremely wide, so criminal responsibility should be investigated.
According to Article 5 of the interpretation of the Supreme People's court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Several Issues concerning the application of law in handling criminal cases involving the use of information networks for defamation, those who abuse or intimidate others through information networks, if the circumstances are flagrant and undermine social order, shall be convicted and punished for the crime of provocation in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (2) of article 293 of the criminal law.
Whoever fabricates false information, or knowingly spreads false information on the information network, or organizes or instructs personnel to spread it on the information network, causing serious chaos to public order, shall be convicted and punished for the crime of provocation in accordance with the provisions of item (4) of the first paragraph of article 293 of the criminal law.
02 the regulatory responsibility of e-commerce platforms should be legal and unshirkable
According to Article 38 of the e-commerce law, if the operator of the e-commerce platform knows or should know that the goods sold or services provided by the operator on the platform do not meet the requirements of safeguarding personal and property safety, or has other acts that infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, and fails to take necessary measures, he shall bear joint and several liability with the operator on the platform according to law.
In this incident, even if it is verified that the historical and actual transaction records of the shops involved are zero, the publicity can be spread to the public, and the harmful consequences have already occurred, and the impact is bad, causing serious infringement on the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. As for the procedural issues of litigation, this lawyer suggests adopting the idea of public interest litigation to sue pinduoduo platform for claims.
03 volume fraud is widespread
The procedure of opening a store in pinduoduo is not complicated. It needs 2000 yuan to open a store in pinduoduo, and the fixed fee is only the store deposit in the early stage. The cost will be determined according to the type of store and the main category. Personal store 2000 yuan, enterprise store 1000 yuan. When the merchant exits pinduoduo platform, the store deposit will be returned to the merchant after exiting. What are the process steps for pinduoduo to open a store? (1) First, enter pinduoduo's official website through PC browser; (2) Then click [merchant entry] at the top of pinduoduo's official home page to enter pinduoduo's store registration page... [ii]
In the early days of its establishment, pinduoduo gave the public the impression of repeatedly selling fake goods. With the passage of time, the bad image of selling fake goods has gradually improved. However, like many e-commerce platforms, pinduoduo platform stores also have orders and letters, and false transaction records deceive consumers [iii]. In this event, the "leogo pet food" store showed 11 orders, and pinduoduo stressed that the actual transaction record of the store's history was zero, which does not prove the existence of self-evident orders and false transaction records.
After receiving the deposit from the store, it has a legal obligation to supervise the order swiping, letter speculation, false transaction records, the sale of fake goods in the store, illegal publicity, and pinduoduo platform. If the supervision is unfavorable, it will be responsible for deregulation in case of an accident.
04 If the neglect of supervision has adverse consequences, the punishment should be timely and strengthened, otherwise the cost of violating the law is too small, and there will be future problems if we tolerate and nourish traitors
Online shopping platforms, especially those with a volume of 100 billion yuan such as pinduoduo, use the sharp tool of the Internet, the audience is extremely large, and the platform is profitable. It is reasonable that the platform must also undertake considerable obligations. This incident is not what a few people call "alarmist, don't make a mountain out of a molehill".
These people may be pinduoduo stakeholders, or some ignorant people. All people with normal cognition know how much society will pay if the cost of breaking the law is too low. The lessons of "Sanlu milk powder" and "lean meat essence" in the past have fully proved that if the cost of violating the law is too low and the root of human nature is to pursue profits, this illegal act will be regarded as a shortcut, similar acts will not be suppressed, and the phenomenon of bad money expelling good money will prevail.
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