Feeds

China censors chat users outside China

report says messages discussing press freedom campaign blocked

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

China’s largest internet firm, Tencent, is reportedly now censoring messages sent by international users of its popular WeChat service.

The Shenzhen-based web giant, which accrued $US1.8bn in revenues in the last quarter, is one of the few Chinese online companies trying to expand its footprint overseas.

Although its QQ instant messaging service has around 800 million domestic users and its web portal of the same name is one of China’s most popular, the Whatsapp-like platform WeChat (or Weixin) is its most prominent product beyond the Middle Kingdom.

It has now emerged that messages sent between users outside China will be blocked when they contain certain words.

TechInAsia sent test messages containing the Chinese characters for Southern Weekly – the newspaper at the heart of recent protests over press freedom – and found them blocked when sent between users in Thailand and Singapore.

The error message – in English – apparently reads: “The message ‘南方周末’ you sent contains restricted words. Please check it again.”

Tencent last month launched a BlackBerry version of the app, in an effort to tap users in south-east Asian countries where the RIM device is still popular, so it’s obviously keen to expand its reach abroad.

Although English language messages are not blocked on WeChat – yet – international users may still be troubled by the news and many are likely to decide against putting their faith in a service where messages are routed through Chinese servers.

WeChat has been singled out in the past on similar matters. A South China Morning Post piece from last November detailed allegations from human rights activist Hu Jia that the police were snooping in real-time on his messages – although it hasn’t been proven that this was done with Tencent’s knowledge.

Tencent didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.