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Chinese bloggers say Tesla threatened them with defamation suits

Chinese bloggers say Tesla has threatened legal action for sending negative content about the US carmaker as it struggles with the wave of bad publicity in the world’s largest car market.

The electric vehicle company has this month set up an account for China’s popular microblog Weibo for its legal department in China. Some users have said that they have used the account to send private messages informing them of defamation lawsuits.

China’s public sentiment, one of Tesla’s biggest markets, has risen in recent months against the California automaker numerous controversies involving customer complaints due to alleged vehicle breakdowns.

In the Chinese version of TikTok, at least two accounts of Douyin have been published in recent days apologizing to the letters after they said they received legal warnings from the car company for videos mentioning non-existent Tesla quality issues.

Threatened to use legal means against critics, Tesla would follow the example set by Chinese technology companies such as Tencent. they sued the bloggers according to the country’s defamation law.

Such lawsuits often require backwardness, apology, and compensation.

“Ruifeng Auto,” one of the accounts, said it would “reflect deeply” after the release of a video suggesting the brakes of a new Tesla vehicle before leaving the exhibition in late May. The claims accepted by the account had no “factual basis”.

On Wednesday, at a rally at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, a woman who helped escalate anger against Tesla as a result of an alleged brake failure admitted to Jinri Toutiao, the owner of TikTok in a news application made by ByteDance, that the company was “extreme” for compensating.

He had previously called Tesla to threaten to hand over the details of his vehicle to regulators and sue the company if he did not do so.

On the same day, a blogger who posted screenshots of messages claiming to be a “five-thousand-year-old rabbit,” threatening the lawsuit against Jinla Toutioo, who belonged to Tesla, apologized to the carmaker for causing any crime. The blogger called Tesla a “garbage company” and accused him of acting like a “hooligan”.

The blogger also stressed that he did not create content related to Tesla: “I also hope that not everyone will create hostility [towards Tesla] mainly due to quality problems, we hope that the problem will not rise to the level [of] discussion between China and the US “.

He told the Financial Times that Tesla’s alleged warning had caused “inconvenience to my normal work and life,” but did not want to talk more about the issue.

Tesla, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has had a public nightmare in China, despite increasing pressure from local rivals. © Pool / AFP via Getty Images

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

The U.S. team, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has had a public nightmare in China in recent months at the moment. increasing competition from local rivals.

The Chinese state media criticized Tesla for initially saying it would not negotiate with those who made unreasonable requests, saying it did not take customer complaints seriously after the Shanghai Auto Show incident. This prompted the automaker publicly apologize.

Independent automotive analyst Lei Xing compared Tesla’s problems to a “soap opera” in China, with parts appearing daily or weekly.

Tesla is a leader in the sale of high-end passenger vehicles in the Chinese electric car market. According to data from the China Passenger Car Association, sales in the country rose 29% month-on-month in May to 33,463 vehicles, up from 33,463 vehicles.

Chinese regulators have stepped up their scrutiny of the company over security and national security.

In March, some military compounds banned Tesla cars for fear of collecting sensitive data from their cameras and sensors. Tesla has denied that they are used to spy on cars.

In May, Tesla set up a data center in China to enforce local laws that prohibit the transfer of data outside the country.

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