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China’s WeChat Set to Follow Weibo, Post Users’ Locations

WeChat said on Friday it will reveal users’ locations when they post on the country’s popular messaging service

The WeChat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration
The WeChat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration. Photo: Reuters


Chinese officials are cracking down on social media outlets at a time when the economy is slowing and rising anger over Covid lockdowns online is keeping state censors busy.

In a year when President Xi Jinping is seeking a third term in office, and the ‘dynamic zero’ Covid policy causing considerable public rumbling, it is perhaps not surprising that authorities have moved to cool things down on social media platforms.

On Thursday, Weibo – China’s version of Twitter – announced it would reveal users’ locations to counter malicious disinformation and other posts seen as “bad behaviour”.

And on Friday, WeChat, the country’s most popular messaging service said it will do the same – reveal users’ locations when they post on the platform.

WeChat, which is owned by tech behemoth Tencent, said in a notice that it would begin testing this new setting soon, which would display the province or municipality of users posting in China.

Posts made by overseas users would display the country denoted by their IP address.

The new setting is aimed at combating misinformation related to recent “domestic and overseas hot-topic issues”, WeChat said without elaborating. WeChat has more than 1.2 billion monthly users.

Weibo introduced the same settings permanently on Thursday after more than a month of testing.


• Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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