Tencent denies claims of WeChat privacy breach

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A sign of Tencent is seen during the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China November 16, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Aly Song

Tencent has categorically denied its highly-popular social media app WeChat is involved in a massive eavesdropping campaign. The online giant has reacted angrily to claims from Chinese crusading journalist Gao Yu that WeChat is being used by national and public security agents in Shenzhen.

Gao alleged in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the Nanshan district sub-bureau of the Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau has a dedicated team next door to Tencent’s headquarters.

She also claimed that this is being used to intercept, monitor and back up messages and chat history of WeChat user in real-time. She also posted a video clip to show how the monitoring system works.

But Tencent, one of the biggest tech companies in China, has refuted such claims. In an official statement, it said:

“The information in the said Twitter post is false. Tencent places user privacy and data security at (sic) top priorities. We do not have such forensics centers as in the Twitter post. We reserve our rights to take legal action against such irresponsible rumor fabricator.”

WeChat, a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app, has more than one billion active monthly users.

Read: Evidence that Big Brother is watching you on WeChat

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