Tencent Blocks US Information Security Analyst’s WeChat Account
Tencent 900b Wechat 259bstreetjournal owns two popular social networks, WeChat and Weixin, which allow users to chat with one another. WeChat is free to use while Weixin is paid to access content and services. But both sites are subject to Chinese data-surveillance laws. While Tencent says it does not block Weixin content, a US information security analyst had his WeChat account blocked.
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Tencent’s WeChat app lacks advertisements
One reason why the WeChat app is not ad-free is that Tencent does not allow advertisements. Tencent is one of China’s largest internet firms, and it caters to hundreds of millions of users. But it is not the only reason that the WeChat app lacks advertisements. Tencent is also open to outside developers, who can add new features to the app.
While WeChat’s user base is impressive – it’s closing in on Facebook’s 2 billion monthly users – Tencent is not making as much money with it as it could. Tencent is forecasting ad revenues of less than US$7 billion for this year, well below its rival Apple’s US$36 billion revenue forecast. The low revenue from WeChat advertisements is no surprise, however, because there are so few ads on the app.
WeChat offers marketers several ways to reach Chinese consumers through its social media platform. For example, brands can create an official page within the app to publish daily news, company info, and blog posts. They can also use ‘Key Opinion Leaders’ to target their audience through sponsored content. And, more recently, WeChat Moments have allowed advertisers to place advertisements.
The WeChat app is the largest messaging app in China, with over 900 million monthly active users. Its users are extremely active, with the average time spent on the app rising to 66 minutes per day in 2016, compared to 50 minutes for Facebook. This growth rate shows no signs of slowing down. With the growing number of WeChat users, the company can monetize the service through advertisements and payment processing.
It applies Chinese data-surveillance laws to monitor Weixin users
Chinese data-surveillance laws allow companies to collect and use personal information, including that of web users, to monitor a wide range of activities. The company has been accused of using these laws to monitor users’ communications and identities, which could lead to the arrest and torture of innocent individuals. However, Tencent has denied this, saying that its data-surveillance policies are not an issue.
WeChat is encrypted, but data between senders and recipients is still available to Tencent. This means that the company can view the content sent and received by users, as well as information they’ve shared with their contacts. This could be a problem for Weixin users who use the service outside of China.
Tencent is taking precautions to safeguard the data of its international users. The company will temporarily stop accepting new Weixin users until August. After this, it plans to address relevant laws and regulations and improve security. However, existing Weixin users can still access the service as usual. Currently, there are 1.2 billion monthly active users worldwide. The majority of these are in China.
Chinese data-surveillance laws restrict the use of internet tools. Chinese data-surveillance laws require network operators to store personal data on mainland China and keep logs for six months. The law requires that network operators obtain consent from users before using personal data. However, consent is not required if anonymized data is collected.
The new rules are part of a broader regulatory crackdown in China. The new regulations are intended to help protect users from cyber-attacks. The new regulations also require the companies to clarify their data privacy policies and practices. The updated regulations apply to companies that offer both business and personal services.
It promises not to access data without authorisation
Tencent has a policy of not accessing users’ data without their consent and has promised not to share it with third parties. It does not disclose the details of which data it collects. However, a few examples of sensitive information it collects include political speech, shared photos, documents and other content.
China has strict laws governing Internet use and data surveillance. Tencent Computer Systems Company Limited, part of the company based in China, must comply with Chinese law in order to protect its users’ data. Despite this, the company has failed to disclose how its international users’ data is used in China. Beijing’s Public Security bureau has not responded to requests for comment.
The company claims it uses anonymised or pseudonymised data for account safety analysis and fraud detection. However, it admits that it can process communications between international users. The company also says it follows the domestic blocklist system to protect user data.
In addition to blocking content, Tencent blocks users from sending or receiving certain messages. The company also has the right to block or censor any content. Tencent says that it has processes to answer privacy concerns and comply with privacy laws. The company also says it does not use ‘unauthorised’ login records.
Although the company acknowledges sharing user information with law enforcement organizations, it does not specify which law enforcement agencies it may share it with. The company also fails to specify which information it may share, which makes it difficult to understand how it may affect users.
Tencent is subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and has data centres in Canada. Users are able to request access to their data. However, they may have to provide proof of identity before the organization provides access to their data.