WeChat Announces Radical New Content Censorship Policy

The popular Chinese messaging app WeChat has announced a long list of content that is now banned on the site. Banned content includes anything that violates the law, fraudulent content, spam, and untrue or unproven stories that amount to rumours. Other, more bizarre, banned content includes: quizzes and games; articles with clickbait headlines; “vulgar” and sexual content, which includes information about treating sexually transmitted infections; and anything that encourages users to share an article or follow a user. Users who break the new rules will be penalised, with punishments ranging from a block on the content to permanently banning the user's account. The response from users has been mixed, with some saying they are pleased that something is being done about the rampant rumours that plague the site, whilst others express concern about whether the new rules go too far and ban legitimate content. Some commentators have also asked whether WeChat will be able to effectively identify all the banned content and enforce the new rules. WeChat is the most popular social messaging app in China, with around 650 million monthly active users.