Every year on March 15 — World Consumer Rights Day — China's state television runs widely watched exposes on companies it alleges are guilty of some seamy practice.
China Central Television, or CCTV, usually does such a good job of ginning up outrage that companies are forced to apologize, and their stocks take a huge tumble. (Just look at the program they ran on food safety at McDonald's last year.)
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This year, CCTV really stepped in it. Their program on Apple raised concerns that the company has less fair phone-replacement policies in China than in other countries. But it all backfired when Taiwan-based star singer and actor Peter Ho posted a message on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, that blasted Apple and ended with the off phrase, "post around 8:20."
Netizens immediately pounced, accusing Ho — and a bevy of other celebrities — of participating in an astro-turfing campaign against Apple. Ho deleted the post, then claimed it had been sent by a hacker.
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Then another celebrity, internet icon Kai-fu Lee, came out and said he had been approached by CCTV and asked to join in the Apple bashing.
Since then, the hashtag #PostAround820 has gone viral on Weibo.