WeChat, a leading Chinese social communication platform operated by Tencent, suspended the registration of new individual users on Tuesday morning while the firm carries out a security upgrade. As a result, Tencent’s share price fell by nearly 9% on Tuesday.
At present, all users can no longer register a new personal account on the platform, even if they use different mobile phone. A notification posted yesterday by WeChat’s official account on Twitter-like Weibo said, “At present, the platform system is undergoing a technical upgrade, leading to the suspension. It is expected that the upgrade will be completed in early August.”
Some netizens assume that the upgrade aims to coordinate with WeChat’s previous plan to rectify the network environment.
On July 21, the WeChat Security Center’s official account announced that according to the guidance of the National Network Office, it would launch a two-month “Qingfeng Plan” to rectify minors’ online environment during the summer vacation to maintain the physical and mental health of teenagers.
As part of the initiative, WeChat will ban minors under the age of 16 from live broadcasting and recording short videos. Furthermore, inducing minors to reward any of the platform’s leading anchors will also be forbidden. Accounts – including but not limited to primary WeChat accounts, mini-programs, video accounts and others – found to be engaging in any of this behavior will be ordered to delete relevant content after a verification procedure. Accounts that publish illegal content repeatedly and refuse to rectify it will be permanently banned.
As a now ubiquitous social app, WeChat has replaced SMS as the default means of sending a message to friends. Tencent has leveraged the platform’s more than 1 billion users to expand into fields such as online payment, e-commerce and others.
According to Tencent’s financial report last year, WeChat has 1.225 billion monthly active users, up 5.2% year-on-year. Every day, more than 120 million users publish content in the “moments” content sharing function, 360 million users read articles on various official WeChat accounts, and 400 million users carry out tasks the diverse range of mini-programs available on the platform. By the end of 2020, 5.5 million enterprises and organizations have used the business version of WeChat, boosting the number of active users by 130 million.