A technical glitch, which left some iPhone users of WeChat unable to access the messaging app for more than a day, has been fixed, parent company of WeChat, Tencent said in a statement.
The service disruptions appeared when the program was being updated to close security loopholes, a Tencent spokesperson told Beijing News.
As for user concerns that the system failure may result in anomalies with the WeChat Wallet, a built-in payment platform, or compromised bank accounts, Tencent said that WeChat’s payment system is overseen by the Central Bank and therefore will not be affected.
The failure was first spotted at around 1 pm Sunday, when users trying to load the app were greeted with a message that read: “Access denied. Please check your network setting.” It drove thousands to complain on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging site. In less than two hours, “WeChat Outage” raced to the top of Weibo’s list of trending topics, with 350,000 users participating in the discussion.
“When WeChat crashes, I am not myself anymore,” one wrote.
Another chimed in, “I have more than two thousand friends and dozens of chat groups on it… I will cry my heart out if all of them are lost.”
Tencent’s Q2 earnings show that WeChat has now 600 million monthly active users, a sharp growth of 37% from a year ago. In addition to being a social networking app and a service platform for ordering food, booking flights and hailing cabs, WeChat has found its way into many Chinese companies as an office communication tool.
Tencent claimed in June that more than 400 million Chinese are using the WeChat Wallet in their everyday life to pay for groceries, eat at restaurants, send express mail and take taxis.
Earlier this year, WeChat went offline on two separate occasions. In January, users reported blocked access, but Tencent addressed the problem within an hour. On July 22, WeChat suffered a major breakdown. WeChat services including: messaging, moments, public accounts and web WeChat, were not fully restored until three hours later. Tencent explained the outage was caused by roadwork severing two optical cables.
Aside from monetary concerns, users real lives can also be dramatically affected with temporary outages. Some have commented about the fear of losing information from WeChat’s moments feature, a built-in feature that allows users to post their statuses, photos and short videos on a rolling news feed.
“If, because of a technical problem with WeChat, all comments in the moments feature were made publicly visible, all manner of flirting, two-timing, trashing and back-stabbing would be exposed. Chinese society would be plunged into total chaos and people would tear each other to pieces. The mere thought of it scares me.”
(Photos from Qq.com and Sina Weibo. )