- Chinese users living in the United States are reporting that many of their posts are being hidden from others on the app due to their criticism of the Chinese government. One user, Zhou Fengsuo, showed the Washington Post that when viewing his own profile on WeChat he can see many posts from his own account, but viewed from a U.S.-registered.
- In China, WeChat is equivalent to WhatsApp or Messenger and is extremely popular among all age groups. This service has been fully supported by the Chinese government in order to block other messaging services making a way into the e-commerce market often country.
Bible Apps and Christian WeChat Accounts Shut Down in China China (International Christian Concern) – In a move to crack down on Christianity nationwide, the Chinese government is targeting the cyberspace— Bible Apps and Christian WeChat public accounts have been removed.
(Photo credit: tangducminh/DepositPhotos.com)
Social messaging app WeChat cooperates with the Chinese government and censors speech, a proposed class action lawsuit filed by a group of Californians claims.
Filed in Santa Clara County, California Superior Court, six anonymous plaintiffs claim Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate operating WeChat, not only monitors texts and turns it over to Chinese Communist Party authorities, but also profits from using the content to fine tune their algorithms, according to the .
“All this chills constitutionally protected speech,” the plaintiffs said. “There is no reasonable alternative to WeChat for anyone wishing to maintain regular contact with the Chinese-speaking world.”
The plaintiffs are joined by Citizen Power Initiatives for China, a non-profit organization helping Chinese people with their human rights and advocating for a Chinese democracy. They say many WeChat users fear retaliation by the Chinese government through Tencent’s surveillance and self-censor chats despite living in the U.S.
“We believe that Tencent has become the technology shackle for the CCP to restrict the freedom of the people,” CPIC said in a . “What Tencent has been doing domestically and overseas constitutes a serious violation to human rights and violates Chinese, American laws as well as the international law. We must start a battle for the freedom of speech, taking a stand against WeChat.”
The class action lawsuit further alleges Tencent suspends WeChat users over content and in some cases, blocks it from being seen or deletes it all together.
“Doe Plaintiff 6” says he moved from China in 2009, eventually landing in the U.S. in 2019. He reports his WeChat account has been suspended at least three times for posting anti-Chinese government content and many of his family and friends in China can’t see what he posts.
Tencent also prohibits cash withdrawals using WeChat from California users who don’t hold Chinese authorized bank accounts, according to the complaint.
The complaint cites research done by the University of Toronto’s The Citizen Lab, a collaborative effort specializing in communication technologies as evidence of these claims.
Researchers found devices that weren’t registered with the Chinese government are surveilled and sometimes blocked.
The class action lawsuit is formally accusing Tencent of violating California laws protecting privacy, free speech, equal protections, and unfair competition, among other allegations. They want the company to pay for damages suffered from the financial loss, emotional trauma, and psychological stress, according to the complaint.
In response to the claims of Chinese censorship, a spokesperson for Tencent said the company “operates in a complex regulatory environment, both in China and elsewhere,” further explaining that a core principle of the international corporation is that “we comply with local laws and regulations in the markets where we operate,” according to the Washington Post.
Former President Trump had last year citing national security concerns, The Washington Post reports.
Tencent has a global reach and brings in more than $50 billion in revenue a year, according to The Washington Post. Considered the world’s largest online gaming provider, Tencent has ownership in U.S. based Epic Games. Last year, it led a consortium that of Universal Music Group.
Chinese Government Corruption
What do you think about Tencent allegedly cooperating with the Chinese government? Do you use WeChat to communicate with family and friends? Does this lawsuit make you think twice about using these kinds of apps? Let us know in the comments below.
Wechat Chinese Government System
Counsel representing the plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit are from the law firms of North River Law PLLC, Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes LLP and The Lanier Law Firm, P.C.
Wechat Chinese Government Program
The Tencent Free Speech Class Action Lawsuit is Citizen Power Initiatives for China, et al. v. Tencent America LLC, et al., Case No. 21CV375169 in Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County.