TikTok and WeChat: Chinese Apps Dogged by Security Fears

Here are some key facts about short-form video app TikTok and messaging, social media platform WeChat.

TikTok and WeChat: Chinese Apps Dogged by Security Fears

Some key facts about TikTok and WeChat

  • Tencent surpassed Facebook's net worth in 2017
  • Tencent has a market capitalisation of HKD 5.32 trillion
  • Tencent has shares in many American companies

The United States has fired a new salvo in its rivalry with China, ordering sweeping restrictions against Chinese-owned social media stars TikTok and WeChat.

Here are some key facts about the platforms:

What is WeChat?

WeChat, known as "weixin" or micro-message in Chinese, belongs to tech giant Tencent and has grown to become ubiquitous in daily life across China since its 2011 launch.

It has more than a billion monthly users and is a "super app" used for everything from messaging to ride-hailing and mobile payments, while also serving as a social media platform.

Tencent surpassed Facebook's net worth after it became the first Asian firm to be valued at more than $500 billion (roughly Rs. 37.48 crores) in 2017.

The Hong Kong-listed company now has a market capitalisation of HKD 5.32 trillion (roughly Rs. 51.47 lakh crores), compared with Facebook's $756 billion (roughly Rs. 56.65 crores).

While WeChat is available in various languages, its main user base is in mainland China, where potential rivals such as Facebook's WhatsApp messaging service are barred from competing.

It is also a widely used among the Chinese, and foreigners doing business in the country, to keep in touch with people there.

Tencent has shares in many American companies, including electric-car maker Tesla, social media company Snap, and top games developers such as Riot Games, Epic Games and Activision Blizzard.

Surveillance on WeChat

WeChat has been dogged by privacy concerns.

The platform censors content for all users registered with Chinese phone numbers, even if they go abroad or switch to an international number, according to a University of Toronto study from 2016.

Another report from the same university in May said accounts not registered in China were also subject to "pervasive content surveillance".

Chinese authorities routinely censor online content and block Western websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and the New York Times.

WeChat's privacy policy says the platform only shares user information "where necessary" with governments and law enforcement agencies.

What is TikTok?

TikTok features kaleidoscopic feeds of short user-made videos of anything from hair-dye tutorials to choreographed dance routines.

It belongs to Chinese tech firm ByteDance and targets the international market while Douyin, a domestic version of the platform, caters exclusively to Chinese users.

TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times since its 2017 launch, according to data from US-based research agency SensorTower.

The app is most popular among teenagers but has found fresh popularity during coronavirus lockdowns around the world as adults look for new ways to pass the time.

It attracted huge followings in the United States, Indonesia and other countries, but it recently became one of 59 Chinese mobile apps banned by India over national security and privacy concerns.

Distancing from China

TikTok has in recent months sought to distance itself from its Chinese owners. It appointed former Disney executive Kevin Mayer, an American, as its new chief executive in May.

It also withdrew from Hong Kong shortly after China imposed a new security law on the city that gave police fresh powers to censor the internet -- a move that analysts said was an effort to avoid the suggestion it was a Chinese-controlled company.

But the app has nonetheless been accused of privacy breaches.

Trump previously set a deadline of mid-September for TikTok to be acquired by a US firm or be banned in the US.

Microsoft has expanded its talks on TikTok to a potential deal that would include buying the global operations of the fast-growing app, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

Is Nord the iPhone SE of the OnePlus world? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on X, Facebook, WhatsApp, Threads and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel. If you want to know everything about top influencers, follow our in-house Who'sThat360 on Instagram and YouTube.

Facebook’s Dilemma: How to Police Claims About Unproven COVID-19 Vaccines
macOS Big Sur Public Beta Now Available for Download, Brings Design Changes, New Control Center, More
Share on Facebook Gadgets360 Twitter Share Tweet Snapchat Share Reddit Comment google-newsGoogle News


Follow Us


© Copyright Red Pixels Ventures Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Trending Products »
Latest Tech News »