Tencent's popular social media platform WeChat posted an article via its official rumor buster subscription account '谣言过滤器' on June 1st to clarify that WeChat does not monitors users' chat history, as someone had previously falsely claimed online.
The fabricated video purported to give tips on how to switch off the so-called 'monitoring function'. It turned out, however, that the guidelines were merely directing users how to turn off their ad feeds.
Tencent's WeChat team stressed that chat records are absolutely confidential and the right to view those belongs only to the user, and that WeChat will never monitor its users' chat history nor push ads to its users via monitoring chatting records.
The team pointed out that the rumour's claim that 'ads are pushed according to your chatting records' is a typical 'grafted' rumor. On Tencent's Apps, the tags for ad pushing services are aimed at user groups instead of the individual user, and all data used in ad pushing services are anonymous. The ad feed on WeChat is based on user authorization and Tencent's big data technology, which protects users' privacy at all times.
Personalized advertisements are very common on the internet. Generally speaking, advertisers choose a target population for their advertisements, which is usually very large, so it often happens that users get ads that are similar to what they often talk about with friends or browse for. That is now a normal part of internet life.
The ads, appearing on the second page (one scroll down) of your WeChat Moments, look like a regular update from your friends but with a small 'Ad' (广告) button in the top right corner.
It's reported that each ad will remain active for several days if users interact with them, e.g. clicking, commenting on, or liking the ad. Any interactions between the user's friends and the ad will also be shown.
The ads will automatically disappear in a few hours if they don't receive any kind of interaction from the targeted user. Users can also turn individual ads off, if they wish never to see that specific advertisement again, simply by clicking the button in the top right that says 'Not Interested' (不感兴趣).
Author: Monica Liu
Editor: Simon Haywood