WeChat’s latest update signals support to China’s first personal information legislation

Recently, Tencent’s WeChat rolled out a new update for its 8.0.16 version. The users can now find a new page in the settings menu, by clicking Settings -> Privacy page, “Personal Information and Authorizations”. You will be guided to go through authorized permissions and learn how the application handles personal information on the new page.

This update came when China’s first Personal Information Protection Law was about to release, which orders companies to process personal data transparently and ensure its accuracy. As a prompt response, the latest WeChat update allows users to quickly view and change the personal information provided to the application and other external platforms through four options:

System Permissions

You can view the current device permissions granted and understand how they are using your personal information. To remove any of them, you can find quick access to the device system settings on the same page and do so.


Find which external platforms have access to your WeChat profiles and what permissions are they given specifically, such as the access to alias and profile photos, and the ability to share to friends on WeChat. You can disable any access by clicking on the specific application’s page, allowing you to tailor it to the external platforms you desire or remove them all.

Personalised Ads

You can learn about the way personalised ads are used and switch off this function. However, refusing this customized service doesn’t change the amount of advertisement feeds you receive on the platform, just purely how they decide which ads to show to you.

View and Export My Information

This option is the most anticipated part of the update. You can find all the personal information such as email account, phone number, delivery address, and login devices presented on one page. You can also export this information by sending them through email. 

However, the overseas version of WeChat allows the users to export more information, such as contacts, WeChat moments, favourite content, and locations. This is due to the much more stringent rules internationally around handling private data, something which China has only now begun to formulate legally.

We can see this adoption by WeChat is in line with the new government rulings, however, it remains to be seen what impact it will have upon the platform as Chinese consumers decide whether to look through these features or not.

Overall, this space will be interesting to view over the next 10 years, with the potential for more personal data security needed, and how this will impact business within China.

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