Bike rental startup ofo is filing a lawsuit against social networking platform Maimai (脉脉) for slander and defamation after a user on the website claimed ofo staff were engaged in graft.
An expose of the so-called ofo internal corruption practices was first found in early May on Maimai, where a post of one user talking about his work at a bike-rental firm was unexpectedly followed by a comment from a supposed current ofo employee claiming that “a regional operator in ofo can siphon tens of hundreds yuan every month and a university operator can take tens of hundreds yuan or more.”
In response, ofo released an open letter saying they have zero tolerance towards corruption, and that these accusations from the anonymous source are full of personal emotions but lack specific details.
Now the bike-rental startup is taking further action by bringing to court Beijing Taotianxia Technology Development (北京淘友天下科技发展有限公司), the operator of the social networking platform, for slander and defamation.
Ofo said that the allegations by the anonymous Maimai user with unconfirmed identity are fabricated, groundless and have defamed the company’s reputation, according to the indictment it filed with Beijing Haidian District People’s Court on May 19. Ofo claims that Maimai did not verify and delete the comments in a timely manner after the comments were made and sparked discussions, causing the slander to be widely spread on the Internet and damaging ofo’s goodwill. Ofo thus demands that Maimai delete the post and comments in question, provide the user contact and address, issue a statement of apology and pay RMB 1 million in compensation.
In response to the defamation charges, Maimai said it has not yet received any notice from the court yet. Today, the company a statement saying that it has taken technical means needed for prevention of reputation infringement, and has provided reasonable remedy measures for the infringed.
Maimai said in the statement that it always discourages its users from spreading rumors, malicious slandering, and infringing on others’ legal rights and interests.
Maimai also said that protecting users’ privacy information is its obligation as much as is legally possible, and it has no right to reveal the user’s private information to others until clearly requested by judicial authorities.
Beijing Haidian District People’s Court has reportedly accepted the case.
In another similar case, co-founder of ofo’s rival, Mobike, is suing Quora-like Zhihu, both adding to a lengthy list of litigation cases in the tech industry that has seen players attaching great importance to the protection of their legitimate rights.