WeChat or Weixin, China’s most popular messenger app owned by Tencent, has denied the allegation of storing users’ chat histories. The micro-messaging app was under scrutiny after such allegations from users.
“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 analyze user chats, the rumour that we are watching your WeChat everyday is a pure misunderstanding.”
China has increased scrutiny of Internet applications last year, ordering firms to remove hundreds of apps that allow users to communicate confidentially or get around China’s so-called Great Firewall system of censorship and use overseas social media.
The actions are linked to real name authentication laws brought in earlier this year, requiring all network providers to verify the real names of users with state-issued IDs or passports, which must be accessible to authorities for surveillance purposes.
China’s cyber watchdog in September announced a new rulemaking chat group administrators and companies accountable for breaches of content rules.
In the same month, it penalised firms, including Tencent, Baidu Inc and Weibo Corp for failing to properly censor online content, and asked them to increase content auditing measures.
Chinese government stepped up its campaign of censorship ahead of the Communist Party Congress in mid-October. In September, it restricted access to WhatsApp’s services in the country and in November, Microsoft’s internet calling and messaging app Skype was removed from Apple’s App Store and Android app stores.
In December, the Indian government issued a list of 42 apps that can be used as a cyber attack against India.
Following the allegations, Tencent told Entrackr in an email statement that Tencent takes this allegation seriously and claims to deliver products that meet a high standard of user experience and information security.
It also added that their products are not spyware and they do not condone or adopt the use of spyware in their products.
The development was first reported by Reuters.