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Companies are expected to invest in staff and filtering technologies to moderate content and stay in compliance with government regulations.
Failure to comply can lead to fines or revocation of operating licenses.
Some commentators speculate that We Chat has not enjoyed the same success internationally because outside of China the application does not have the same rich set of features, such as mobile payments and taxi hailing, that make it a compelling platform for users within China.
Market growth outside of China has also been hampered by incidents that remind international users of the restrictions We Chat faces at home.
Despite these concerns, there is limited technical research into the operation and scale of content monitoring and filtering.
In this report, we provide the first systematic analysis of keyword censorship and URL filtering on We Chat to determine how the app filters content and the type of content that is blocked.
Any Internet company operating in China is subject to laws and regulations that hold companies legally responsible for content on their platforms.We found a greater number of keywords blocked on group chat compared to one-to-one chat, which suggests that communications on group chat are specifically targeted, potentially because group chats can reach a larger number of users.