It’s not surprising that KFC’s China operation would be irritated by a rumor that it sells meat from genetically modified chickens with eight legs. “Our chickens have two legs and aren’t monsters” has always been a staple of the company’s message to consumers. What is surprising about the eight-leg rumor is that it was propagated not by random Internet dweebs and buttheads but by a marketing company. Or at least that’s what KFC claims in a lawsuit filed against Shanxi Weilukuang Technology Co. Ltd., Taiyuan Zero Point Technology Co., Yingchenanzhi Success and Culture Communication Ltd. From the Wall Street Journal:
KFC said on its Chinese-language website that three Chinese media companies tarnished its image by spreading false information about its products on social media. KFC alleged in its statement that the companies spread rumors, “misleading the consumer,” on microblogs and through photos and articles that claimed its chicken had six wings and eight legs. The fast-food chain said it is requesting compensation of up to 1.5 million yuan (about $245,000) from each company, an apology and an end to the alleged practices.
“Defamation is common on China’s Internet,” writes the Journal in a sentence that definitely did not need to include the word China’s.