Despite these concerns, there is limited technical research into the operation and scale of content monitoring and filtering.In this report, we provide the first systematic analysis of keyword censorship and URL filtering on We Chat to determine how the app filters content and the type of content that is blocked.In 2010, China’s State Council Information Office (SCIO) published a major government-issued document on its Internet policy.
We Chat, (Weixin 微信 in Chinese), is the dominant chat application in China and fourth largest in the world, with 806 million monthly active users.
We Chat encompasses more than just text, voice, and video chat; it includes a rich set of features such as gaming, mobile payments, and ride hailing, which make it more of a lifestyle platform than a mere chat app.
We Chat offers a microblogging feature called “Public Accounts” that allows certain users to publish daily posts.
On March 13, 2014, Tencent shut down nearly 40 Public Accounts without giving any prior notice.
In addition to keyword censorship, We Chat implements a URL filtering system in its built-in browser, which uses different lists of blacklisted and whitelisted websites for China and International accounts.