It's (not) about ethics - The Chinese student jailed for two years for exploiting KFC

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I find this story really interesting as a study in ethics. Who is morally correct here?
This is the story:
Student is jailed for two years in China after exploiting KFC app glitch to get endless free chicken
  • 23-year-old, identified only as 'Xu', discovered glitch in KFC's online ordering
  • Student found that by swapping between KFC's phone app and WeChat ordering system, he could generate unlimited free food vouchers
  • Xu exploited the glitch to get £6,500 of free chicken, which he sold to others
  • He also shared the glitch with four friends, who stole a further £15,500 of food
A Chinese student who exploited a glitch in KFC's online ordering systems to get endless free chicken has been jailed.
The 23-year-old, identified only as 'Xu', managed to take £6,500 in free food in just six months after uncovering the glitch back in 2018. He also shared the secret with four friends, who took a combined £15,500 of chicken before they were stopped.

This week, Xu was jailed for two and a half years for fraud and fined £700 over the scheme, while his friends were jailed for between two years and 13 months. Xu discovered the glitch while buying food using a voucher from KFC's phone app in April 2018, according to Chinese state-run media. He found that by switching between the KFC app and the company's store on WeChat, China's equivalent of WhatsApp, he could place an order using the voucher though it still remained in his wallet on the other account. This effectively generated infinite free food vouchers, which he used to buy £6,500-worth of chicken between April and October that year. Xu kept some of the food for himself, but also sold cut-price meals to his classmates.
 

rifke

bodhisattva
it wasnt just a matter of "hey look, i can get free food!", he was energetically and deviously exploiting the system, almost creating a business out of it.

to which i say, now that he's been jailed, i hope it was worth it for him! personally, though, if im going to waste 2 and a half years of my life in jail, it's going to be for something worth more than just fried chicken, like maybe clobbering someone i dont like, or illegally downloading the neil documentary.
 
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The.Truth.

about Ruth
I think there are a few people/entities/concepts to consider in all this.
1 The chickens, along with the conditions they're "processed" under and how that may differ from the US where KFC already has a terrible reputation for cruelty, and China. Would a company practicing some sort of 'cruelty-free" processing have a higher moral ground?
2 KFC, an originally US-based corporation doing business in
3 China
4 Xu, the original student to discover the glitch
5 The IT people responsible for making these systems interact properly
6 Capitalism and Communism

I agree, if Xu had only done it once accidentally, or had only used it to eat that would be different. his economic situation would be a factor, too. Was he a "starving university student?" Was other food available? It's always going to be fraud and theft once he repeats it but these are just things to consider.
 

rifke

bodhisattva
I think there are a few people/entities/concepts to consider in all this.
1 The chickens, along with the conditions they're "processed" under and how that may differ from the US where KFC already has a terrible reputation for cruelty, and China. Would a company practicing some sort of 'cruelty-free" processing have a higher moral ground?
2 KFC, an originally US-based corporation doing business in
3 China
4 Xu, the original student to discover the glitch
5 The IT people responsible for making these systems interact properly
6 Capitalism and Communism

I agree, if Xu had only done it once accidentally, or had only used it to eat that would be different. his economic situation would be a factor, too. Was he a "starving university student?" Was other food available? It's always going to be fraud and theft once he repeats it but these are just things to consider.
to consider the chickens is stupid, because that's not why he's being jailed. i agree that his little spree culminated in much unnecessary suffering but it's not a crime to go to kfc and buy whats on offer. if it's an ethical question of should this person be jailed for indulging in cruelty, then that's an excercise in hypocrisy, since jailing someone for eating something that gazillions of other people eat everyday is also cruelty.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
to consider the chickens is stupid, because that's not why he's being jailed. i agree that his little spree culminated in much unnecessary suffering but it's not a crime to go to kfc and buy whats on offer. if it's an ethical question of should this person be jailed for indulging in cruelty, then that's an excercise in hypocrisy, since jailing someone for eating something that gazillions of other people eat everyday is also cruelty.

You're posting on a Morrissey fansite, and given his past comments about KFC and China it shouldn't take too much imagination to see that the chickens are a factor. That doesn't mean they will be a factor in everyone's analysis though and you're not being forced to consider any of this or to participate at all.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
You're posting on a Morrissey fansite, and given his past comments about KFC and China it shouldn't take too much imagination to see that the chickens are a factor. That doesn't mean they will be a factor in everyone's analysis though and you're not being forced to consider any of this or to participate at all.
My mum and I sat in her car outside KFC several times, picking through little blue veins to eat muscle. It seemed gross then, and now, barbaric. I remember eating barbecued chicken in my ex boyfriend's van with him, as if we had to eat chickens to survive. We ate them for the pleasure of it. Or, I did. Maybe he believes he needs to eat animals.

My vitamin D comes in gelatin capsules, but I try to be vegan.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
I find this story really interesting as a study in ethics. Who is morally correct here?

Are you arguing that because KFC's attitude to animal welfare is seen as morally dubious by some people, that makes it morally acceptable to steal from them? Are you arguing that because KFC's IT systems had a loophole that enabled a voucher to be used infinitely, that nullifies the accusation of theft against 'Xu'?
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
Are you arguing that because KFC's attitude to animal welfare is seen as morally dubious by some people, that makes it morally acceptable to steal from them? Are you arguing that because KFC's IT systems had a loophole that enabled a voucher to be used infinitely, that nullifies the accusation of theft against 'Xu'?
I'm not arguing anything. I'm saying that I think there are a lot of interesting factors here that make it kind of a unique study. I don't think it's necessary to take a position especially before really examining the different perspectives.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
Mum was a good cook. I can't help but remember how comforting her cooking was, back when I ate animals. Now, she's dead, and I just painted her, from a reference photo in which her expression is sinister. She died in 1998. I can't help but wonder, if she and my sister colluded in killing my dad. Now, the smell of meat brings mixed associations. Comfort, betrayal, cruelty.
 
D

Deleted member 29235

Guest
I'm not arguing anything. I'm saying that I think there are a lot of interesting factors here that make it kind of a unique study. I don't think it's necessary to take a position especially before really examining the different perspectives.
Then I don't see the point of your original comment other than to point out an interesting story. I don't see what these 'interesting factors' are. Someone committed systematic, long-term theft against a company and was tried, convicted, and imprisoned. There's nothing particularly interesting or problematic about that, morally speaking.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
I do feel sorry for Xu because two years in Chinese prison has got to be a really life-altering experience but I'm not saying that he didn't willfully commit crimes. I think if it was me I'd have reported the glitch and hoped for some kind of free voucher as a reward. The enthusiasm he went into this with when everything can be traced directly to him shows that he's not cut out to be a criminal.
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
Then I don't see the point of your original comment other than to point out an interesting story. I don't see what these 'interesting factors' are. Someone committed systematic, long-term theft against a company and was tried, convicted, and imprisoned. There's nothing particularly interesting or problematic about that, morally speaking.
I'm just a random person on the Internet. I can't imagine how my decision to take a position on this would alter any of it. I tried to explain why I think it's interesting but I'm not here to sell you on that idea.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
I do feel sorry for Xu because two years in Chinese prison has got to be a really life-altering experience but I'm not saying that he didn't willfully commit crimes. I think if it was me I'd have reported the glitch and hoped for some kind of free voucher as a reward. The enthusiasm he went into this with when everything can be traced directly to him shows that he's not cut out to be a criminal.
Two years in a Chinese prison makes my 2 weeks in the psych ward seem like a party.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
It was not too bad, that psych ward, though they didn't give me back my charging cables, their toothbrushes sucked, I had to eat dairy, and my medication was increased. They socialized me though. I admit I needed to be socialized.
 

Light Housework

useless eater
I Facebook messengered my sister about 20 days ago. Last contact was by phone in 1998. I told her I love her, can forgive anything, and that I wanted to clear the air between us. She sent me her phone number. I called and asked her if she killed dad. She said I was out of line, thanked me for calling and blocked me.
 
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