WeChat Rejects Rumors of Snooping, Doesn’t Store or Analyze Chat

WeChat officially denied rumors that it monitors users’ chat activity or retains chat records on January 2. Chat records are only stored in the user’s mobile phone or computer, the company said. It does not and will not use chats for big data analysis.

WeChat official statement reads as follows:

Recently, someone spread rumors that “WeChat reads your chats every day.” I can only say it comes as a surprise after people have used WeChat for such so many years. Please take out your notebook, write it down what I say and remember it:

  1. WeChat does not store any user’s chat record. The chat content is stored only on the user’s mobile phone, computer and other terminal devices.
  2. WeChat didn’t and will not use any chat content for big data analysis;
  3. As WeChat does not store or analyze user chat, it is a misunderstanding that “WeChat reads your chats every day.”

WeChat respects user privacy and this has always been one of the most important operating principles for the platform. We have no rights and no reason to “read your chat”.

This announcement is regarded as a response to the Geely Chairman Li Shufu’s opening speech. Li said on January 1 that there were a lot of social problems, and one is personal privacy and information security.

“People are almost completely transparent. When walking on the road, we can see cameras everywhere. When driving cars, there are headlights everywhere. You can hardly escape the reality,” Li said.

Li expressed concern about the user’s phone and WeChat privacy. “Pony Ma must be reading our WeChat messages every day because can casually snoop if he wants,” Li said.

In August 2017, Ding Ke, Tencent vice president of security, said WeChat didn’t read or store chat records. As for remarks harmful to national security in WeChat group, Tencent had the ability to restrict them but does not intend to do so.

“Our value is definitely not to interfere with the user chats. We do have the ability to do it, but our principle is to put customers first. There are boundaries, and we cannot infringe on a user’s privacy. Of course, it has some statistical value, but only after technological desensitization treatment,” said Ding Ke.

This article by Cui Peng originally appeared in Sohu Technology and was translated by Pandaily.