WeChat denies storing chat histories of its users

China’s most popular messenger app, WeChat, has denied storing the chat histories of its users after a businessman was quoted in media reports saying he believed Tencent was monitoring everyone’s account.

“WeChat does not store any users’ chat history. That is only stored in users’ mobiles, computers, and other terminals,” WeChat said in a post on the social media platform.

“WeChat will not use any content from user chats for big data analysis. Because of WeChat’s technical model that does not store or analyse user chats, the rumour that ‘we are watching your WeChat everyday’ is pure misunderstanding.”

Li Shufu, owner of the Volvo car brand and chairman of Geely Holdings was quoted in Chinese media saying Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng “must be watching all our WeChats every day”.

Just like all Chinese social media platforms, WeChat is required to censor public posts deemed “illegal” by the Communist Party. WeChat’s privacy policy states it may need to retain and disclose users’ information “in response to a request by a government authority, law enforcement agency or similar body”.

In September, China’s cyber watchdog announced a new rule making chat group administrators and companies accountable for breaches of content rules. In that same month it handed down maximum penalties to tech firms including Tencent, Baidu and Weibo Corp for failing to properly censor online content, and asked them to increase content auditing measures.

Credit: Digital Street SA

Digital Street SA

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