A piece of junk message received by a Chinese cell phone user. China Mobile has apologized for management loopholes that allowed the spread of spam text messages to nearly half of the country's cell phone users.[google.cn]
China Mobile has apologized for management loopholes that allowed the spread of spam text messages to nearly half of the country's cell phone users. The country's largest mobile operator vowed to block short messages originating from seven online advertising firms on Wednesday.
The seven firms, which included NASDAQ-listed Focus Media, arbitrarily sent commercial text messages to more than 200 million cell phone users whose personal information was fully controlled by the companies, through two operators, China Mobile and China Unicom.
"As the mobile operator, we have the obligation to block spam text messages. We hold an unavoidable responsibility in this case," marketing operations manager Xu Ming said.
A China Mobile spokesperson said the company would work with parties concerned to clarify rules on spam message identification and blockage, and beef up technology to tighten and oversee junk commercials.
Focus Media chairman Jiang Nanchun apologized on Wednesday for the trouble caused to consumers. The company said in a statement it had urged its subsidiaries to halt short message services in a cleanup campaign.
Jiang said he was sorry for not fulfilling supervisory and control duties, and demanded its subsidiary company Focus Media Wireless to stop its advertising message services immediately.
Jiang pledged that the company would first gain approval from users to make sure the services are provided to the clients who ordered them. He said he is also firm on shutting down subsidiary companies if they do not establish an effective management mechanism.
Jiang explained he had been engaged in an investigation of its affiliates since March 16, which he said showed that Focus Media Wireless never profited from disclosing users' mobile phone numbers and other information.
But Jiang also said investigations will continue on each of its affiliates and employees next week.
The Beijing News reported yesterday that the company has also set up a hotline for complaints over the spam messages.
In China, there are no laws to punish the sending of text spam messages, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher Zhou Hanhua said. Personal safety could even be threatened if the trading of such information got out of control, he said.