Home Uncategorized Chinese budget brand Temu floods X with ‘free £50 cash giveaway’ offer...

Chinese budget brand Temu floods X with ‘free £50 cash giveaway’ offer on day MPs warned Beijing was a constant cyber threat – as it emerges it can SELL users’ personal details

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Chinese online marketplace megalith Temu is running a giveaway offering users ‘free money’ in exchange for new sign-ups – but there are concerns that people entering the promotion could have their information ‘sold’ to advertisers.

The shopping website, which sells extremely cheap goods sent directly to users from China from wholesalers, is running a promotion offering a combination of cash and store credit in exchange for new members joining up.

With a series of flashy in-app graphics, users are told they’re moments away from claiming up to £100 of combined PayPal money and Temu vouchers – but social media users are concerned about whether the giveaway is too good to be true.

The competition’s own terms state that those who take part in the contest surrender a large amount of personal information in doing so – just as the UK and US identified China as the source of a wave of cyberattacks on public figures and institutions.

The rules in the ‘Cash Reward’ promotion state users agree to give Temu permission to use their ‘photo, name likeness, voice, opinions, statements, biographical information, and/or hometown and state’ worldwide.

Temu sells extremely cheap goods on behalf of third-party wholesalers that are shipped directly from China

Temu sells extremely cheap goods on behalf of third-party wholesalers that are shipped directly from China

Tweets promoting Temu's money giveaway giveaway are now flooding timelines on social media - with images offering 'Easy cash' in exchange for sign-ups

Tweets promoting Temu’s money giveaway giveaway are now flooding timelines on social media – with images offering ‘Easy cash’ in exchange for sign-ups

The terms for the contest warn that users surrender their 'photo, name, likeness, voice, opinions, statements' and other personal information

They are processed in accordance with Temu's privacy policy, which says personal information can be shared or 'sold' to third parties

The terms for the contest warn that personal information is surrendered by entering the competition (left). Data is processed in accordance with Temu’s privacy policy (right), which says information can shared or ‘sold’ but does say users can opt out

Flashy graphics tell users that the free money is within their grasp - as long as they get some friends to join Temu as well

Flashy graphics tell users that the free money is within their grasp – as long as they get some friends to join Temu as well

The app features what it says are reviews from competition winners who have managed to claim the free money

The app features what it says are reviews from competition winners who have managed to claim the free money

Some users are fed up of the links flooding their timelines - while others have questioned how the site can give away large amounts of cash

Some users are fed up of the links flooding their timelines – while others have questioned how the site can give away large amounts of cash

And the giveaway rules are further governed by Temu’s wider privacy policy, which shares personal information about shoppers with third parties such as advertising platforms and the sellers who use its platform.

The giveaway, accessible only within the Temu mobile app, launches with glowing graphics of a gift being opened and the user being told they are on their way to claiming a ‘Grand Reward’.

And by pressing a few buttons on the prompts that follow, the reward is suddenly boosted to almost £100 – with the app promising users it will become ‘super easy’ to claim the cash.

Users are then told, with £1 to go, that they must invite up to 20 new people to join Temu – with anywhere from 1p to £1 awarded per user who joins up with their personalised invitation link.

They must hit the £100 threshold in order to claim the reward. As a result, people have taken to social media in droves sharing their own invites in the hope of getting over the line and claiming a combination of PayPal credit and Temu vouchers.

‘Click here and see how much you can earn,’ reads one post on X, formerly Twitter, with a graphic that reads: ‘Accept my invitation and earn your Easy cash!’ 

The app itself shows what it claims are reviews of the competition from existing winners, thanking Temu for the prize.

But some social media users are fed up of the Temu links plaguing their feeds.

‘Can these Temu ads leave me alone?’ one user wrote on X, while another added: ‘That Temu thing seems too good to be true like how’re they just giving people money.’

Temu’s privacy policy states that it can share personal information with third parties such as advertisers. The site insists that it does not ‘sell’ user data – but admits that in some countries, the sharing of data is considered ‘selling’.

The policy reads: ‘At Temu, we care deeply about privacy. While Temu shares your personal information for the purposes of targeted advertising, which may be considered a “sale” under applicable privacy laws, Temu does not “sell” personal information in the traditional sense.’

UK rules require competition promoters to inform users in their terms and conditions of any intention to use winner names and other materials in publicity material.

Promoters must also give entrances the opportunity to ‘object to their information being published or made available, or to reduce the amount of information published or made available’. 

Temu’s privacy policy also states that users can opt out of having their data processed. MailOnline has asked Temu if this extends to the data shared under the cash giveaway’s terms and conditions in line with UK rules.

The contest comes as the UK government said state-backed actors in China were behind a wave of cyberattacks on the UK’s elections watchdog as well as MPs and peers – with sanctions imposed on those claimed to be responsible.

Deputy prime minister Oliver Dowden said on Monday Beijing bore responsibility for the attack on the Electoral Commission’s register of 40million Brits and the emails of prominent critics of Chinese activities.

Mr Dowden said the actions, which included tapping into the names and addresses of Brits registered to vote, demonstrated ‘hostile intent from China’.

And Whitehall sources have suggested staff at Chinese-linked firms working in the UK may have to register with security services in future – inflaming tensions between London and Beijing. 

Temu was aggressively marketed in the US during the Super Bowl in February - prompting anger from American lawmakers

Temu was aggressively marketed in the US during the Super Bowl in February – prompting anger from American lawmakers

Temu's distinctive packaging often appears on social media - including TikTok, where users show off their budget 'hauls' of cut-price goods

Temu’s distinctive packaging often appears on social media – including TikTok, where users show off their budget ‘hauls’ of cut-price goods

Ministers have this week blamed China for cyberattacks on the elections watchdog and MPs (pictured, a meeting of the National People's Congress earlier this month)

Ministers have this week blamed China for cyberattacks on the elections watchdog and MPs (pictured, a meeting of the National People’s Congress earlier this month)

Staff at Chinese firms and organisations across the UK could be forced to register with the security services - inflaming tensions between London and Beijing

Staff at Chinese firms and organisations across the UK could be forced to register with the security services – inflaming tensions between London and Beijing

The Chinese embassy, however, said the allegations were ‘completely fabricated and malicious’, branding them an ‘anti-China political farce’.

Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, is based in Dublin but domiciled in the Cayman Islands – and conducts its operations in China through a series of subsidiary companies and a ‘variable interest entity’ enabling foreign investment.

Its Chinese subsidiaries are subject to Chinese law – but exactly how much data PDD’s own companies hand over to the Beijing government is not known, and there is no suggestion Temu data has been shared with those authorities.

Who has the UK targeted with sanctions following the Chinese cyber attack claims?

WUHAN XIAORUIZHI SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMPANY LIMITED 

The government said the firm ‘is associated with APT31, operating on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS) as part of China’s state-sponsored apparatus’.

ZHAO Guangzong

The government said they are ‘a member of APT31, operating on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), and has engaged in cyber activities targeting officials, government entities, and parliamentarians in the UK and internationally’.

NI Gaobin 

The government said they are ‘a member of APT31, operating on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security (MSS), and has engaged in cyber activities targeting officials, government entities, and parliamentarians in the UK and internationally’.

Marketing itself with the slogan ‘shop like a billionaire’, Temu purports to offer millions of products at knockdown prices sourced from a variety of Chinese suppliers who send the products to buyers direct.

It is currently the fourth most-downloaded free iPhone app in the UK, according to Apple data retrieved today, and regularly features on TikTok as users share their budget ‘hauls’ as they arrive in its distinctive mail packaging.

It is a ‘third-party’ marketplace – meaning that most of its listings are created by external sellers, down to the product details and illustrations, with Temu effectively acting as a wholesaler.

The app’s cut-price goods, which can take weeks to arrive, are being aggressively marketed in the UK and the US – where it aired six ads during the Super Bowl in February to the ire of lawmakers.

Items are typically sent directly from suppliers, according to Temu’s own website – despite items being labelled as being ‘shipped from Temu’. 

Some Temu suppliers have been accused of breaching employment laws following an investigation by the US government last year, which accused producers of employing Uighur Muslims as forced labourers. 

Temu itself says it requires its third-party sellers to comply with employment law. But the company has also faced complaints about selling low-quality products.

Temu itself is owned by Chinese conglomerate PDD Holdings, which also operates the China-only e-commerce site Pinduoduo. It is headquartered in Dublin under the firm Whaleco Technology Limited.

Pinduoduo’s app was pulled from the Google Play app store after cybersecurity researchers identified what they said was malware inside the app that could spy on users’ phones. The Temu app was not implicated in the research.

In November last year, consumer rights group Which? discovered Temu was selling potentially illegal weapons including knives, axes and batons for as little as £8.48 – often without any safety checks on buyers.

A subsequent investigation by Which? found heaters being shipped to the UK did not meet safety rules – and were at risk of causing electric shocks or even exploding. Temu pulled the products in response to the probe.

And like other Chinese e-commerce giants, Temu has been accused of enabling the theft of designs from fashion designers and artists.

In January, Bristol dressmaker Christina Ashman was surprised to see photographs of herself in one of her hand-made gowns being used on Temu to promote a cheap imitation of a design she had created.

Temu eventually pulled the dress, which was being sold by a third-party seller, after users reported the design as rip-off

MailOnline has contacted Temu for comment on the cash giveaway.



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