A professor in eastern China has divided the internet after giving his students an assignment to add as many friends as possible on WeChat.
The unidentified professor at Henan University of Economics and Law provided the assignment to students enrolled in the course called Online and New Media.
The assignment, given on March 10, required students to add at least 1,001 new friends on WeChat — China’s most popular social network with more than one billion monthly users — to score 60 out of 100. To score full marks, 1,667 new friends must be added.
As if adding strangers was not enough pressure, the assignment constitutes 30% of the students’ final grade, according to Sohu News.
The demanding task has students scratching their heads, especially those who consider themselves as introverts.
“It’s a difficult assignment task. I only have about 100 friends on Wechat. Many of us feel frustrated and worried we can’t add so many friends,” one student told Pear Video.
In response, a teacher from the university explained that the assignment actually prepares students for real life.
“This assignment comes from a core module in the course. What we’re saying is that afterwards, when these students look for work, they will have the basic skills necessary for this type of social media operation.”
China set 2020 as the year of nationwide implementation of its social credit system, which, in part, monitors and scores citizens’ behavior on the internet. For instance, posting on social media can affect one’s social score, depending on the content.
Offenses that are immediately punishable include spreading fake news, especially concerning airport security and terrorist attacks.
The assignment has since gone viral on Weibo, drawing mixed reactions from users:
“This course is actually reasonable.”
“I think this course is good and offers many challenges.”
“You’ll only chat with a few people while the rest are basically dead. What’s the point of doing this?”
“Did the teacher offer alternative assignments? There’s really no need to do this just to promote their students.”
“If this is a marketing class, then it makes sense. But some people just don’t use their knowledge to observe people’s practices. This is very ignorant.”
The students have two weeks to complete the assignment.
Feature Image (Representation Only) via YouTube / WeChat