China’s Weibo Fires PR Executive Over Bribery Allegations
(Bloomberg) -- Weibo Corp., which operates a Chinese social media platform akin to Twitter, has fired a senior executive over allegations that he took bribes.
The company has fired Mao Taotao, who joined Weibo in 2010 and oversees public relations, and will not rehire him again, according to an internal notice seen by Bloomberg News. The corporation, which was spun-off from Sina Corp. and counts Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. as one of its backers, is currently cooperating with police investigators over the matter, the notice said.
Mao’s phone was turned off when Bloomberg News attempted to contact him. Representatives of Weibo and Sina didn’t immediately return calls and emails seeking comment.
“As a long-time employee who held important responsibilities as a manager, Mao’s failure to set an example and his abandoning of principles in the face of temptation to profit is distressing and regrettable,” Weibo said in the notice. “The case once again demonstrates the company’s ‘zero-tolerance’ toward fraudulent behavior and should be a warning to everyone to abide by the law and the group’s rules.”
The bribery allegations aren’t the first time Weibo has been mired in scandal. In 2020, posts on the Chinese microblogging site over a controversy involving Alibaba executive Jiang Fan were scrubbed, drawing the ire of government officials over the ability of the e-commerce giant to influence public opinion. Recently, #MeToo allegations involving former Korean boy band member Kris Wu prompted the People’s Daily, a mouthpiece for the Communist Party, to criticize platform operators for inappropriately promoting celebrity fan culture.
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