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Xiaomi alleges attempt to hurt product sale by fake Twitter accounts

‘Handlers’ of these bot/fake accounts tried to make Redmi K20 look like a bad purchase for consumers, Xiaomi said

, ET Bureau|
Sep 12, 2019, 10.39 PM IST
Of the total, 137 accounts tweeted over 100 times a day, making ‘overpriced’ a Twitter trend.
New Delhi: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has alleged that over 900 fake accounts on Twitter had tried to discredit its Redmi K20 model around the time of its launch on July 17 by calling the product overpriced in a bid to hurt sales.

‘Handlers’ of these bot/fake accounts tried to make the product look like a bad purchase for consumers, Xiaomi said, without elaborating or naming any company or person responsible for the campaign between May 15 and July 21.

“We cannot reveal the handles, as we have escalated this to our legal team and Twitter India for further action,” the company’s chief marketing officer Anuj Sharma said on Twitter.

Sharma said 487 of the over 900 fake accounts that posted tweets claiming the Redmi K20 was overpriced had been created in July. Over 600 such accounts had already been deleted.

Of the total, 137 accounts tweeted over 100 times a day, making ‘overpriced’ a Twitter trend. Making a topic trend on the platform requires fewer tweets.

The negative trends started dying down after buyers of Redmi K20 started sharing their positive opinions, Sharma said.

“Perhaps the ‘handlers’ realised that they were losing the conversation and bailed out,” Sharma said in one of his Twitter posts.

Chinese smartphone maker Realme criticised the attack against Xiaomi on the social media platform and said it, too, had been at the receiving end.

“We at Realme strongly condemn such malpractices in the industry. We have received similar kind of backlash when we launched our flagship device Realme X,” Madhav Sheth, CEO of Realme India, said in an email. “It’s good to see that other industry players are also raising the same concerns as we did long back.”

India’s No. 1 smartphone company and Realme have had public spats on Twitter before, with their CEOs promoting their respective products as superior to the other. The two companies have been at loggerheads ever since Xiaomi’s India MD Manu Jain took a jab at the Realme 3 Pro smartphone in April, following which Sheth hit back.

“Being the No. 1 brand, you are trying to fight a brand which is just emerging. I can sense that you are insecure,” Sheth had told ET in May, referring to Xiaomi.

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