Fast food giant KFC said on Monday that it has filed lawsuits against three Chinese companies, whose social media accounts spread false claims about the quality of its food.
The company filed a plea last Friday asking the three companies to immediately stop the copyright infringement and offer an apology. It asked for a maximum compensation of 1.5 million yuan from a defendant company in Shenzhen and 1 million each from two defendant companies in Shanxi province.
KFC said in its complaint that it was hard for companies to protect their brands against rumors because of the difficulties in collecting evidence. It said the three companies had operated the accounts on the popular mobile phone app WeChat and this was a major obstacle for gathering evidence.
By the end of April, there were more than 4,000 postings against KFC on the public WeChat accounts. At least 130 accounts had such postings wherein the viewer numbers exceeded 100,000. "It is not only seriously misleading consumers, but also harms the brand," said a statement issued by KFC.
Tencent Holdings Ltd, the company which operates the WeChat service, declined to comment on the issue.