China targets WeChat, 42 other apps for violating data transfer rules

Image Source: BBC

The Chinese government’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced today that 43 apps including Tencent’s messaging and social media app WeChat violated the country’s data transfer rules. 

MIIT said that the apps transferred users’ location data and contact lists illegally while also showing them disturbing pop-ups. 

The regulator said the apps will be penalized if they don’t make the necessary changes by August 25th to comply with the laws and regulations.

In addition to Tencent’s WeChat, the list also includes online travel agency Trip.com’s mobile app, video streaming app iQiyi and an e-reading app from Alibaba Group. 

The news comes amid China’s tech crackdown which has led many tech companies operating in China to make rectifications to their businesses to comply with the country’s strict data privacy rules. 

Earlier this year, a group of top Chinese regulators announced that they will ban all apps from requiring excessive personal data starting May. 

Earlier last month, China’s ride-hailing giant Didi was removed from Chinese app stores for illegally collecting users’ personal data. Following the ban, the company lost $22 billion in market cap

Late last month, WeChat suspended new user registrations in China to comply with ‘relevant laws and regulations’.

Written by Sophie Blake

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