No More Lying on WeChat as App Introduces Strict New Rules

Tecent wants to keep everybody honest

WeChat’s rise in prominence over Weibo as the most popular online social media platform in China is finally complete now that a new list of rules have been published that specifically tell users what they can and can’t do.

Published yesterday by the WeChat Security Center, the list of rules is substantial, especially with things users are forbidden to post to their accounts. These rules mostly apply to Moments, the Facebook-like newsfeed inside the app. Without further ado:

  • Users can’t “infringe” upon the rights of others by naming accounts after real people, leading to confusion. As well, users are forbidden to engage in libel or invade anyone’s privacy.
  • No porn or content with sexually-suggestive themes can be posted.
  • No violent content can be posted, including depictions of drug use and other “disturbing content”. As well, WeChat accounts can not be used to sell lethal weapons like firearms, even if they are imitations.
  • Nothing pertaining to gambling is allowed.
  • Links to phishing sites or viruses is forbidden.
  • Users are not allowed to recruit people into organized gangs or terrorist cells.
  • Promotion of counterfeit materials and products is forbidden.
  • Falsely advertising services such as pyramid schemes are prohibited, as is the selling of illegal goods and services like trafficking in endangered animals, human organs, and prostitution.
  • Encouraging users to reshare links with the promise of rewards is prohibited, including using patriotic language to meet a promotional ends by saying something like “If you are a real Chinese, you must forward this!”

If that seems pretty inclusive, there’s one more rule: no lying allowed. As Tech in Asia reports, it seems more to do with protecting the government rather than protecting the users themselves, calling it “very similar to the Communist Party’s rhetoric when it comes to censorship and the war on rumors”:

The “dissemination of content that is opposed to the basic principles of China’s Constitution, socialist system, national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity” is deemed illegal. Leaking state secrets, endangering national security or “harming the national honor and interests of the political class” falls under this rule.

Inciting national, regional, ethnic, and religious hatred, discrimination, misunderstanding, and prejudice is prohibited, as is disturbing social order or causing a public panic with false information. And no propagating superstitions.

With such strict new rules in place, one wonders how prostitutes will now find their customers.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor