WeChat Fights False GPS Location Services

15/10/2019

 

 

Location tags can easily be changed by third-party services

 

 

WeChat, the Tencent messaging app, would be at the centre of frauds involving the false GPS position in WeChat’s Moments, a feature that allows 1.1 billion WeChat users to share fragments of their lives with their friends.

The Moment function has been used for various purposes, including recording daily activities, selling cosmetic products, or displaying personal wealth. Many users of WeChat also tend to share their positions when travelling abroad, indicating that they are able to afford travel abroad. However, these location tags can easily be modified by third-party services that can facilitate fraudulent schemes, as revealed by recent investigations.

 

The Chinese newspaper Global Times also reported people paying to post fake photos

 

Last week, a WeChat public account called Damokesizhicheng reported the story of a man who claims to be one of the leaders of the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese state party. The individual, whose name was Zhu Xiangyu, often shared the links of the day’s reports through his Moments, with his position displayed as the newspaper’s headquarters. With fraudulent information, the man managed to “borrow” thousands of RMBs from dozens of reporters affiliated with more Chinese media, before being arrested by the Beijing Police.

The Chinese newspaper Global Times also reported people paying to post fake holiday photos, showing off international locations; a trend that is becoming a business on Taobao, the Alibaba online market. Reportedly, these services are sold on Taobao for a minimum of 10 RMB ($ 1.40), supported by a third-party plug-in.

 

WeChat asked Taobao to block these services on its platform

 

Many buyers who sell products through WeChat also rely on false positions to build a “reliable” profile on the platform, according to a report by the Beijing Youth Daily. In this way, they can fool potential buyers into believing that the products offered come from foreign countries like Japan or South Korea, while they are actually manufactured in China.

However, WeChat asked Taobao to block these services on its platform. WeChat, for its part, has also limited over 1 million accounts for reasons related to this issue, as reported by Beijing Youth Daily.

 

 

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