Tencent sorry for Typhoon Lekima deaths blunder


A woman holds an umbrella against the wind and rainfall brought by Typhoon Lekima in Yantai, ShandongImage copyright
China Daily via Reuters

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Typhoon Lekima battered eastern China – but casualties were not in the millions

China’s largest video-streaming platform has apologised after it mistakenly said a typhoon had killed everyone in Shandong province – home to around 99 million people.

Tencent Video made the error in a push notification about Typhoon Lekima, sent to subscribers on Monday.

It later corrected the death toll for the province to five.

The nationwide death toll from the typhoon had reached 56 by Wednesday, according to official media reports.

In its mistaken push notification on Monday, Tencent cited the Shandong Emergency Response Office as saying: “Typhoon Lekima has left the entire province dead, seven people are missing.”

The company later posted a statement expressing regret on Weibo, the Chinese social media platform, and blamed the error on “editorial mistakes”. It apologised for any harm caused, and promised to review its work practices.

Tencent Video had 89 million subscribers at the start of 2019, according to a financial report released in May.

Typhoon Lekima hit eastern China in the early hours of Saturday, and swept through the provinces of Zhejiang, Shandong and Anhui over the weekend.

Around two million people were forced to leave their homes, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said, and more than 1,000 flights were cancelled.

State media said weekend rainfall levels in Shandong were the highest since records began in 1952.

Screenshots showing the Tencent message were widely shared on Weibo, where many were less than forgiving.

“Where are your editorial standards? It’s a major natural disaster situation, how could you get something like this wrong?” said one commenter.

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Media captionTyphoon Lekima causes devastation in eastern China

“Are you crazy Tencent? Sending out a [notification] like this has serious consequences,” another posted.

Others made light of the error, however.

“I live in Shandong,” said one commenter. “Tencent is really amazing, I didn’t even know I died.”

Census data from 2016 showed that Shandong is home to 99.4 million residents.