Chinese university students required to make 1,000 new WeChat friends to pass module

Chinese students were told they had to add 1,000 new friends on WeChat to obtain a passing grade.
Chinese students were told they had to add 1,000 new friends on WeChat to obtain a passing grade.PHOTO: REUTERS

Making new friends nowadays might seem easier with the help of social media allowing you to connect with others who share similar interests.

But when a university module assignment requires you to make 1,000 new social media friends, the task might be quite daunting instead.

In China, students at Henan University of Economics and Law taking a social media-related module were informed that 30 per cent of their grade would depend on how many new WeChat friends they managed to add.

WeChat is China's top social media app.

Students told Pear Video, a Chinese short video platform, that they had to add at least 1,000 new WeChat friends to pass, and 1,667 new friends to get full marks.

The deadline appeared to be two weeks, and students had to prepare a report on what methods they used to find these friends, and how much effort they had put in, according to a course document seen by Pear Video.

One student messaged Pear Video saying: "I've had WeChat for so many years but I only have about 100 friends, everyone is a nervous wreck."

Another student said on Chinese social media platform Weibo that the teachers had been very communicative when giving the assignment and were constantly asking for feedback from the students.

She added that most students seemed to be working hard to think of a good way to complete the assignment.

A faculty member, who was identified only as Mr Chen, told Pear Video that if a student really did not want to train his social media skills this way, it might be possible to adjust the method of grade calculation.

"As a teacher, we have the responsibility to train our students," the staff member at the university's School of Literature and Journalism and Communication added.

On Weibo, there were varied comments by Chinese netizens.

One user said that 1,000 was too much and "unreasonable".

Another wondered how it was possible to reach the number. "Do I just add everyone I see?" she questioned.

One defended the assignment: "What's the use of just studying the theory behind becoming a professional at social media and the Internet? Doing hands-on is the most useful."

Another user said: "I think this is a good idea, university has always been the best place to meet people. This teacher is very creative."