Date
26 September 2017
Weixin and WeChat are promoting a showboating lifestyle in their "friends circle", according to People's Daily. Photo: HKEJ
Weixin and WeChat are promoting a showboating lifestyle in their "friends circle", according to People's Daily. Photo: HKEJ

State media blasts WeChat friends circle

State-run People’s Daily took to instant messaging service Weixin Friday to denounce its “friends circle” for showboating and ruining relationships.

It accused Weixin and its sibling WeChat of showing off travel experiences, promoting commercials and flooding the platform with “chicken soup for the soul”.    

“If you can’t escape from that, just keep calm,” it told followers.

However, the comments were dismissed by netizens who said the friends circle content is purer than government propaganda in the newspaper and on state broadcaster CCTV.

It was not the first time state media criticized the service. The newspaper had published negative commentaries for three straight days from May 27.

In one article, it said 47.3 percent of participants in a survey found WeChat had blurred the line between personal and work lives. And it has become a hotbed for rumors and commercial exploitation by merchants.

“As WeChat brings users all kinds of new experiences, it also becomes a giant platform that provides everything,” the newspaper said.

The friends circle works like this: posts are visible only to “accepted” friends and the kind of information shared — children’s photos or random observations — is typically intended for a defined audience of family and friends.

Weixin, which was launched in January 2011 and quickly amassed about 600 million registered users, has a more intimate format for exchanging text messages, images and short voice messages.

Meanwhile, Chinese newspapers have recently reported that the central government will conduct nationwide identity checks on Weixin users for any links to a May 22 terrorist blast in China’s remote Xinjiang province which killed dozens of people.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

JZ/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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