In the new privacy statement, the company revealed that personal data, including the messages users type into the app, are surrendered to the Chinese regime in compliance with “applicable laws or regulations” in the country.
Aside from your personal information and messages, the app also stores users’ private log data such as “information about what you have searched for and looked at while using WeChat,” and “people you’ve communicated with and the time, data and duration of your communications.” The company mainly uses such collected data to customize advertisements and direct marketing.
While such development may be shocking to some people, it is a suspicion that many have long harbored.
WeChat has been criticized in the past for its almost non-existent privacy and security protections for its users. Critics believe that WeChat’s success can be attributed to the company’s close collaboration with the Chinese government, which explained the self-censorship and surveillance mechanisms implemented in the app.
WeChat, which reportedly has over 662 million mobile users, is owned and developed by billion-dollar internet giant Tencent.