(ECNS) -- China’s popular social media app WeChat said on Wednesday it doesn’t monitor chat data, following media reports of its suspected targeted marketing practices.
Some users found advertisements in articles shared by WeChat’s official account Selected (Jingxuan in Chinese), matched subjects in previous chat conversations they had with friends.
According to Shanghai-based The Paper, Tencent's WeChat team said the app does not monitor a user's chat record, as it has promised for a long time, or recommend advertisements based on recorded chat data.
Tencent's ads are usually promoted to a very large population based on a user's group attributes or advertiser preferences. It is easy for users to receive advertisements that "just happen to" correlate with their own chat content and browsing history, said the report.
Examples the team provided include the tourism period from March to May when the Chinese mark Tomb-sweeping Day and the May Day holiday, with Japanese cherry blossoms also a huge attraction. As a result, users will have a higher possibility to find advertisements about travel or Japan, said the WeChat team.
WeChat also includes an internal function called "Have a Look" (kanyikan in Chinese), which shows reads of WeChat friends, so users will receive information based on their interests, reading habits and trending topics that become part of their profile on this function.