China Just Shut Down 20 Million WeChat Accounts Because They Offered Prostitution Services

WechatPeter Parks/AFPThe logo of the Chinese instant messaging platform WeChat is shown on a tablet, March 12, 2014

Chinese company Tencent shut down 20 million WeChat accounts — five per cent of the total number of the messaging service’s users —because they offered prostitution services, the company said. Tencent also shut down30,000 public fake accounts.

Weixin, the version of WeChat offered in China, has 396 million monthly users. Tencent dubbed the shutdown “Thunder Strike,” and it comes just a month after the Chinese government announced its initiative to “clean up” instant messaging services like WeChat.

WeChat announced last week it would start to “protect [WeChat users’] experience and interests” by closing down fraudulent and illegal accounts. Many WeChat users use the three-year-old instant messaging service as a news source, but some people have used them to distribute illegal information, “seriously undermining public interests and order in cyberspace,” said a statement from China’s State Internet Information Office.

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