Tencent Vows to Probe WeChat Youth Function as Prosecutor Sues
Tencent Holdings will review the “youth mode” of its WeChat app after a Beijing prosecutor filed a civil public-interest lawsuit against the company, alleging non-compliance with China’s underage law.
The company will “sincerely respond” to the suit, “humbly accept” user suggestions and continue to improve safeguards for teenagers on the app as part of its social responsibility to ensure young people’s healthy development, WeChat said in a Weibo social media post.
A Beijing prosecutor took the action on Friday, accusing the company of “violating legitimate rights of minors.”
WeChat said it has been making improvements since it implemented the special function in October last year, allowing parents to control the privacy settings of their children’s accounts, as well as limiting their live-stream tipping and access to in-app games, it said in the post.
Increased scrutiny by Chinese regulators on its biggest tech companies and continued state media criticism of various sectors in recent weeks have triggered steep losses in the stock market. On Tuesday, Tencent shares tumbled as much as 11% after state media described video games as “spiritual opium” and said the sector should be regulated as soon as possible.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.