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China to close all WeChat groups? Sorry, that’s BS

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A widespread rumour on Chinese social media spread panic through WeChat groups on Monday. Somehow, people were made to believe that WeChat would shut down all group chats. Users thought they needed to frantically add all contacts in their group conversations immediately.

Additional evidence made it sound even more convincing if you’re not familiar with WeChat’s group QR code feature. If you check the QR codes for every WeChat group, there is a date at the bottom indicating it will expire on March 14th.

The rumour invaded a lot of groups I’m in, both in Chinese and in English

WeChat’s team soon dismissed the rumour via their public account:

1. The news that WeChat will shut down all groups is totally made up.
2. The expiration date has been there for a long time. Every group QR code will only be valid for seven days to give users a better experience and protect groups from spam.

Tencent dismissed the rumor via its WeChat public account

Though it’s hard to figure out the motive behind creating this rumour, it certainly was successful in turning people’s unfamiliarity with some WeChat features into panic. Reaction to the rumour definitely revealed how vulnerable we are in the information age.

Online reaction to the incident included some sarcastic commentary. Here’s one of the best comments found on Chinese tech blog

Magic: Your age added to the year of your birth will be 2016! Tell your friends and ask them to have a try as well!


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