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Tencent’s WeChat Among 42 Apps Rebuked by China Over Illegal User Data Transfer

Apps from Alibaba, Trip.com, and video streamer iQiyi among those flagged by Chinese regulators.

Tencent’s WeChat Among 42 Apps Rebuked by China Over Illegal User Data Transfer

The punishment comes during a year of ongoing regulatory scrutiny towards tech companies

Highlights
  • Regulator said the apps had illegally transferred users' contact list
  • The list also included an e-reading app owned by Alibaba Group
  • MIIT stated that apps will have until August 25 to make rectification

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Wednesday that 43 apps, including Tencent's WeChat, were found to have illegally transferred user data, and ordered their parent companies to make rectifications.

The move comes as Chinese authorities tighten regulatory oversight on a range of industry, with a particular emphasis on privacy and data.

In a statement published online, the regulator said the apps had illegally transferred users' contact list and location data, while also harassing them with pop-up windows.

The list also included an e-reading app owned by Alibaba Group, as well as others managed by travel giant Trip.com, and video streamer iQiyi.

MIIT stated that the apps will have until August 25 to make rectifications, or else they will be punished in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

Alibaba iQiyi and Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trip.com declined to comment.

The punishment comes during a year of ongoing regulatory scrutiny towards tech companies.

On Tuesday, China's State Administration for Market Regulation published a set of draft rules aimed at improving fair competition, banning practices such as fake reviews and inflated public metrics.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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