Not long after the massive raid ”Thunder Strike” on massage parlors offering special services, another campaign operation which is targeting on messaging app industry has been carrying out recently to lock accounts that are spreading improper information about terrorism, pornography and fraud. The authorities even claimed to hold service providers responsible if they do not fulfill their duty.
And Wechat, also known as Weixin, as the most popular messaging app in China, actively responds to the “Thunder Strike’ in order to create a “healthy cyberspace”, started from June 9 and till now, it has shut down 20 million accounts which are involved with prostitution. Wechat claimed that the cleaning up directing at official accounts is aiming to improve the user experience by protecting them from spam information and other accounts’ harassment.
Though prostitution is illegal in China, it widely exists in MPs, saunas, KTVs and other venues. After the crackdown time, escort girls have largely moved their business from those places to social medias, and Wechat attracts a large number of accounts to offer some erotic services, mostly because of its private messaging and payment services. After becoming the center of it, prostitution fraud via Wechat emerges in endlessly.
Wechat has been used to post thoughts, chat with friends and browse news by countless users in China, which makes it an indispensable part of their lives. However, in consideration of security, Chinese government has a quite strict administration of networks, not all the news or your thoughts can be post. Wechat is not the only app that involved in the criticism of offering special services, but definitely the most popular one with 396 million monthly active users. Till now, 5% accounts have been shut down.
Although shutting down accounts seems detrimental to Wechat itself, it actually impedes the commercial extensions to some extent. Challenging Chinese political censorship is a great risk.