If a stranger befriends you online or through social messaging applications such as We Chat and talks you into buying them purchase/gift cards (e.g.Alipay Purchase Cards, i Tunes) in exchange for a meet-up, date or the promise of sexual favours, this is likely a Credit-for-Sex scam.We are talking about houses and small mansions that may sell for millions of dollars.Now why would anybody in their right mind buy a house via a conversation on a messaging app?That’s less than those on the world’s most popular messaging app Whats App (900 million) and on Facebook Messenger (800 million).But those 650 million – and the number is growing rapidly – aren’t just telling each other what train they’re on, sharing photos of their breakfasts, flirting, or organising or conducting a meeting, though they do all of this too, of course. Users, in China at least, can order and pay for a taxi; donate to their favourite charity; send DIY postcards from whatever city they’re in; transfer money to a friend; find their nearest petrol station; check in for a flight; search a library catalogue for a book; shop; pay off a credit card; book a doctor’s appointment; follow the official accounts of celebrities ranging from Fan Bingbing to John Cusack; buy movie tickets; keep up with the Communist Party line via the People’s Daily (We Chat’s most heavily subscribed official account); check the points on their driver’s licence; top up their mobile accounts and find restaurant reviews, in some cases discovering how many people are queuing for tables before adding their names to the list.Everybody who lives in China knows about and (probably) uses We Chat.Outside of China, it is almost completely off the radar, and with luck, is associated with the “Chinese version of Whats App.”Despite the image that many people have of China being “the country of cheap rip-offs,” We Chat is not just a bad rip-off; rather, it is an inspiration for Facebook and its Messenger or Snapchat.
There are pictures of them looking glamorous at red-carpet events.
Operating a chat application in China requires following laws and regulations on content control and monitoring.
Accordingly, the popularity of We Chat has also been met with suspicions of surveillance and media reports of censorship.
Ng, and Masashi Crete-Nishihata 阅读报告中文摘要 Read a blog post on the report from Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert.
Media coverage: Bloomberg, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The Globe and Mail, Quartz.