We all are becoming increasingly aware of how much bigotry, racism, sexism, and all-out hatred there is online these days. According to CNBC, there’s a new craze in China which either intentionally or inadvertently counteracts that trend.
On Chinese social networking and chat sites such as WeChat, QQ, Zhihu, and others, there are groups in which you can pay a small fee and then receive compliments from people in the group for a pre-determined amount of time.
In one group CNBC investigated, you would pay 15 Chinese yuan (~$2.24) for three minutes of compliments or 25 yuan (~$3.73) for five minutes.
Before you receive your praise, you can tell the group personal things about yourself so the group members know what kind of compliments to give you. In one example, a user told a group they had just purchased a new house and spend a lot of time there alone. One of the responses to this was, “This is awesome! Now you have more spare time. Take this opportunity to enjoy your ‘me time.’ One can be very happy by himself. And you have us here!”
These groups are known as “kuakuaqun,” which is Mandarin for “praising groups.” They are relatively easy to find on Chinese social media and even on e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, which is a subsidiary of Alibaba.
There are also a few groups that don’t charge for the compliments. Instead, you ask for an invite into the group and all that happens inside is positive discussion of the other members of the group.
It’s not quite clear why groups like these are popping up at a fast pace. It could be a response to the various online hate issues the world is facing or a response to so-called “curse groups” that have proliferated in China. These groups are essentially the opposite of praise groups.
Either way, don’t be too surprised if the trend moves out of China and into other countries.