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Rachel Lu

WeChat’s Brief But Strange Transformation Has Worried Users Talking Hack

Now doesn’t that look fun? (via Weibo)

WeChat, a communications app, is suffering some user ire for the first time since it began its explosive growth to dominate the mobile messaging markets in China and many emerging market countries like India and Indonesia.

On May 24, WeChat apps installed on the Android operating system was replaced by a gaming app after an official update in the Google Play Store. The app was restored through another update in a few hours’ time, but not before many users left comments at the Play Store, Sina Weibo, and other social media outlets complaining about data loss and possible security breach. WeChat apps installed on Apple’s iOS appear to be unaffected.

So far, WeChat’s official account on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, has remained silent on this issue that potentially affected millions of mobile phones, despite being alerted to what appears to be a hack through hundreds of alerts from users. It is not clear whether Android or Tencent, WeChat’s developer, is to be blamed for what appears to be a major security breach. @绿毛笨粥 tweeted, “Tencent’s WeChat team, your reaction is too slow! You should’ve sent out notices immediately on WeChat and Weibo to let users know!”

The restoration of the WeChat app still resulted in data loss of existing chats. What’s more, concerns about personal data security and privacy invasions remain. @有一个吃货在北德 tweeted, “Geez, even WeChat in Google Play can be hacked. Who can I trust in this day and age!!!”

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Rachel Lu

Rachel Lu is a co-founder of Tea Leaf Nation. Rachel traces her ancestry to Southern China. She spent much of her childhood memorizing Chinese poetry. After long stints in New York, New Haven and Cambridge, she has returned to China to bear witness to its great transformation. She is currently based in China.
  • Harold Janson

    More likely not a “hack” but sabotage to counteract a successful non-us controlled platform

    • Jahar

      Gotta blame the US, don’t you?

      • Harold Janson

        it’s not unprecedented