“We Never Snoop Users’ Chat History,” Says WeChat Founder, Allen Zhang

19/01/2018

Jan. 19, 2018 – On the morning of Jan. 15, Allen Zhang, VP of Tencent, announced three important features. First, the WeChat Official Account will re-launch the Reward function; second, WeChat will launch an independent app for Official Accounts; and finally, the father of WeChat, Allen Zhang emphasized that users’ chat history would not be snooped through the app.

The WeChat Reward function has not been working since April 2017 with iOS because Apple changed its payment rules.The Reward feature allowed users to tip authors for content. Apple clause 3.1.1 that blocked the feature specified that apps should not include buttons, external links, or other actions that guide customer payments to non-In-App Purchases (IAP). As of 2018, the issue has been negotiated with Apple to restore the Reward function.

Allen Zhang stated that the essence of the Reward feature was to support authors who write great content. In the future, WeChat will treat authors as individuals by giving them independent columns on WeChat.

The Official Account App release is long-awaited. WeChat official accounts allow users to take advantage of the app for marketing and mobile commerce by providing a formal way for users to interact with their customers. But previously, official accounts were only accessible via desktop. “WeChat is an app that is based on the smartphone. It’s absurd that users could only manage official accounts via computers before. Tencent had already developed the app, but the release was delayed because it didn’t work as expected,” Zhang stated. 

Finally, Zhang emphasized that privacy of users is critical. He specified that Tencent users’ chat history would never be snooped on WeChat, and that WeChat would not send spam messages.

Following advice from Tong Zhang, Co-Founder of Tencent, WeChat only synchronizes message history via Local Area Networks (LAN). “For user privacy, WeChat is doing much better than other platforms,” Zhang stated. “We don’t want to host too many activities to please our users, because, in my opinion, deliberately pleasing people is a sign of disrespect.”

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