At a time when the internet and social media have come under attack for their impact on mental health – including depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and low self-esteem – groups of netizens have emerged in China with a mission to achieve the exact opposite. Chat groups where people shower you with over-the-top compliments and cheesy but positive messages for a price – known as Kuakuaqun , or praising groups – are gaining popularity and can be found in abundance on social media platforms WeChat and QQ, according to an Abacus report . These groups are full of people who find extremely creative ways to find a silver lining in any dark cloud. To take one example, one person complained that “I can’t focus on reading.” The gold-star response? “This means your knowledge level is higher than the book.” Another example starts with: “My roommate is a girl”. Back comes the professional response. “You can tell that your roommate is a girl? You have eyes for discovering treasures.” And, “You now have what I dream about having.” Dozens of the these praise group vendors can also be found on Alibaba Group Holdings’ Taobao platform, where you can buy a 5-minute session for about 50 yuan (US$7.45). It can take a while to actually join a group due to heavy demand, but once you are in the compliments come thick and fast. “Where does this fairy come from? I feel the air in this group just got sweet,” said one message. “You must have been a carbonated drink in your last life. Otherwise why do I bubble up with happiness when I see you?” Some are creative, some sound like bad pick-up lines. The sad statement that “My fish is dead” produced a variety of responses. From “Your fish is gone, but I’m here now” to “The fish is so cute you can fry it. Kids next door want it so much they’re crying!” Facebook is changing, and this Chinese app is the model Although some of your personal woes can be ignored by the larger group, the overall mood is one of positivity and praise as opposed to the denigration and trolling that social media is often criticised for embodying. Moderators are also employed to keep order and remind the group when a session is about to end. Not all sessions are paid – some chat groups can be found on QQ, for example, by scanning QR codes found on social media platform Weibo. Chinese media reports say that online praising groups originated in 2014 on Douban, an interest-based social site. The community, called “praise each other group”, is for people to cheer each other up when they are in bad situations. Last week it was reported that it suddenly gained more than 10,000 members. Now universities across China have joined the trend by creating their own praising groups, and many people are trying to turn it into a viable business. Shooting out a random question into one praising group about how much people were paid by a vendor to give compliments produced replies of around 7 cents. ‘Social media queen’ closes WeChat account after fake story outrage People said it was just a “fun” thing to do and that they liked giving praise and “putting people in a good mood”. However, the wave of praise groups follows on from a previous explosion of interest in so-called “curse groups” which subject people to intense verbal abuse – a bit like the “Yo Mama” insult raps popular on YouTube. WeChat cracked down on many of these abuse groups last year and they have faded in popularity since. It remains to be seen if praise groups are another fleeting trend for China’s mercurial millennials or if the positivity is here to stay. Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.