Sun Ge wins the lawsuit against the media for spreading rumors, Web3 is definitely not a place outside the law

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In late June, Chongqing Business Media Group Co., Ltd. officially released an apology statement to TRON founder Justin Sun on the Peoples Court Announcement Network.

Sun Ge wins the lawsuit against the media for spreading rumors, Web3 is definitely not a place outside the law

This also means that the two-year-long case of Justin Sun suing the media for defamation finally ended with the plaintiff Justin Sun winning the case and the defendant apologizing.

Although justice came a little late, and the reputational damage suffered by the plaintiff in the past two years is difficult to quantify and recover, this result will still have a certain deterrent and warning effect on the spread of subsequent related rumors. For the Web3 industry, which has long been criticized, this judgment once again proves that Web3 is not a lawless place, which helps to urge information service practitioners to speak with evidence and thus build a more responsible and healthy information dissemination environment.

Case Review

The specific process of this case is as follows.

On March 11, 2022, the Business media account under Chongqing Business Media Group Co., Ltd. posted a video titled FBI investigating Justin Sun, suspected of insider trading on Eastmoney.com and Eastmoney APP; in April, the company again published an article titled Post-90s Targeted by the FBI in Business magazine.

In the above-mentioned videos and articles, the company used insulting and defamatory language to describe the plaintiff Justin Sun without any investigation, such as organizing a market-making team, suspected of insider trading, fleeing abroad to evade the ICO ban, suspected of fraud, money laundering, evading legal sanctions, and the U.S. IRS, FBI, etc. have already intervened in the investigation.

These defamatory information from the business community originated from the article THE MANY ESCAPES OF JUSTIN SUN published by the American magazine The Verge on March 9, 2022, and the author of the article is Christopher Harland-Dunaway. However, The Verge clearly mentioned in the original article: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is responsible for prosecuting securities fraud, declined to comment on the relevant content; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service neither confirmed nor denied the existence of the investigation; the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Southern District of New York did not respond to requests for comment.

More importantly, before Business World published the above article and video, Justin Sun himself responded to the rumors in both Chinese and English on March 10, 2022 regarding the accusation made by The Verge.

In this context, Chongqing Business Media Group neither contacted The Verge for confirmation, nor was able to contact the FBI and other US agencies. It even ignored Sun Yuchens own response to refute the rumors and still published the above articles and videos without verification.

In response, Sun Yuchen himself subsequently commissioned Beijing Weiheng Law Firm to file a defamation lawsuit against Chongqing Business Media Group. After a summary trial on March 22, 2023 and a public hearing on September 20, 2023, the Yubei District Peoples Court of Chongqing City finally ruled that the plaintiff Sun Yuchen won the case in accordance with Article 1024 of the Civil Code of the Peoples Republic of China, which states that no organization or individual may infringe upon the reputation rights of others by means of insults, defamation, etc., and required the defendant Chongqing Business Media Group Co., Ltd. to execute the following ruling.

  • The defendant must delete the video titled FBI Investigates Sun Yuchen, Suspected of Insider Trading posted by him on the Business World account in the Eastmoney APP on March 11, 2022 within three days after the judgment takes effect;

  • The defendant must publish an apology statement to the plaintiff Justin Sun in a nationally published newspaper within thirty days after the judgment takes effect;

  • The defendant must pay the plaintiff Justin Sun notarization fees of RMB 519.37 within fifteen days after the judgment takes effect.

Sun Yuchen was deeply hurt by rumors

It is extremely common for public figures to be attacked by rumors in Web3, the Internet, and even traditional industries.

Shortly after Sun Yuchens case, Binance founder Zhao Changpeng also filed a lawsuit against the Chinese version of Bloomberg Businessweek, the Hong Kong media Modern Media Company, in the High Court of Hong Kong on July 25, 2022, accusing the latter of defamation. If you look at the wider industry, you will find that many well-known figures including Liu Qiangdong and Wang Jianlin have been plagued by rumors and eventually had to fight back through legal means.

As one of the most popular public figures in the Web3 industry, Justin Sun is surrounded by endless rumors. The reason is that, firstly, as a new industry, Web3 has an imperfect regulatory framework and an unfriendly public opinion environment, so many people tend to wear tinted glasses when talking about the Web3 industry; secondly, Justin Suns personal humorous and joking social media interaction style makes him look easier to provoke than some more serious public figures, which objectively gives some lawless elements the opportunity to do evil.

However, these so-called reasons are at most just conditions, and they can never be a reason for spreading rumors. In any legal system, spreading rumors is a malicious slander of the person being rumored, an intolerable infringement of reputation, and will cause irreversible and unquantifiable value losses to the person being rumored.

But even in the face of such negative influence, when faced with various rumors and attacks, Justin Sun mostly adopted an attitude of the innocent will be innocent and ignored them . At most, he would speak out through his personal social media account to refute the rumors. He rarely pursued responsibility as resolutely as he did in this lawsuit against Chongqing Business Media Group Co., Ltd.

Sun Ge wins the lawsuit against the media for spreading rumors, Web3 is definitely not a place outside the law

Sun Yuchen has his own reasons for being helpless. First, as a top KOL in the industry, the founder of TRON, and an investor and consultant of mainstream exchanges such as Poloniex and HTX, Sun Yuchen not only needs to pay attention to the development of his own related projects, but also shoulders the responsibility of innovation for the needs of the industry. Therefore, it is difficult to spare time to respond to rumors one by one; second, in the current increasingly impatient social media reading environment, responding to rumors sometimes deepens the binding of personal image with fabricated rumors, which in turn promotes unexpected negative results – many people only pay attention to keywords and do not care about the full content.

As the saying goes, It takes only one mouth to spread a rumor, but it takes a lot of effort to refute it. In todays media environment, the cost of spreading a rumor is often low, but the difficulty and cost of holding people accountable are extremely high. When faced with rumors and slander, seemingly glamorous public figures are actually just like ordinary people when they are spread rumors, and most of the time they are in a passive position.

The first step to purify the Web3 public opinion environment

So why did Justin Sun choose to stand up this time, even though he knew that doing so would consume a huge amount of time, energy and litigation costs, and there was a possibility that the market would recall forgotten old rumors, he still wanted to pursue the lawsuit through legal channels?

The answer is that Justin Sun hopes to take a big step forward in purifying the public opinion environment of Web3 through this small step of personal victory.

Looking back at the final judgment made by the court against the defendant in this case, you will find that the defendant only needs to compensate the plaintiff for the notarization fee of 519.37 yuan, but ignored the higher expenses claimed by the plaintiff, such as economic losses, mental damage compensation, litigation expenses, etc., and required the plaintiff to bear 10,310.24 yuan of the case acceptance fee of 10,440.24 yuan, and the defendant only needed to bear 130 yuan.

It is not difficult to imagine that for the plaintiff Justin Sun, this amount of compensation must be far less than the various expenses he spent on this lawsuit, not to mention the unquantifiable time cost. But even so, Justin Sun still chose to resolutely defend his rights.

The more critical part of the verdict is that the defendant needs to delete the false information and publicly issue an apology statement so that all readers can witness the exposure of the defendants rumor-mongering behavior – for media service providers, this is a truly painful punishment – warning relevant industry practitioners to fulfill their obligation to check sources before publishing content, thereby purifying the malicious public opinion environment that has long surrounded the Web3 industry.

Web3 is by no means a lawless place. Under any modern legal system, rumor-mongering is neither allowed nor tolerated.

This article is sourced from the internet: Sun Ge wins the lawsuit against the media for spreading rumors, Web3 is definitely not a place outside the law

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