Viral donation campaign closed amid concerns

A one-yuan online donation campaign aiming to help poor students that soon went viral across WeChat over the weekend has been questioned by netizens for its inconsistent data.

Each date of the year is meant to feature a different child, but the photos above of one child are used on two different dates, under two different names.

A one-yuan online donation campaign aiming to help impoverished students that soon went viral across WeChat over the weekend has been questioned by netizens for its inconsistent data.

The donation channel has been closed for data and interface optimization, according to the project operator Fenbei Funding, an interactive platform on WeChat initiated by Beijing Lingfenbei Technology Co Ltd and Shenzhen-based Aiyou Future Charity Foundation.

Netizens could donate one yuan to students in need who share the same birthday as them from the database, then forward a photo of the student to their WeChat wall to trigger a relay of love.

However, quite a few netizens found some students had two birth dates, while others claimed to be born on non-existent dates, like February 29 in 2009. 

Fenbei Funding apologized to the public for "incorrect information" in an announcement, adding that the beta version tested by a developer had gained popularity on WeChat since last Friday, while the original project wasn't planned to go live until December 25.

They said seven photographers had spent one month taking pictures of 366 students of varied birthdays in mountainous areas across Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. 

They also said in the announcement that usage of the pictures and information about the students on the platform had been authorized by their guardians. The students were all from a national list of impoverished households.

A total of 440,000 yuan (US$67,217) was raised through the online campaign by 1pm on Sunday, according to Beijing Youth Daily. All of the contributions will be distributed to the students on the name list by the Aiyou Future Foundation, as the newspaper reported, citing Fenbei Funding. 

Local authorities will track and supervise the distribution of the donations.

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