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WeChat Is Forming Uncannily Detailed Picture of Users Based on App Activity

By Teng Jing Xuan / Jan 09, 2019 04:57 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

If you’re a WeChat user born in the 2000s, you probably don’t sleep much and love iced beverages and desserts more than your elders.

If you were born in the ‘90s, you likely get out of bed later in the morning than people of other ages, and read a lot more human interest content compared to three years ago, when you mostly liked entertainment industry gossip. And if you were born in the ‘80s, your tastes haven’t changed much — you’ve always been interested in major national affairs.

That’s according to Tencent, which owns China’s most popular multifunctional chat app.

How does the tech company know all this? Because WeChat users sent 45 billion messages and made 410 million calls through the app each day in 2018, according to an annual roundup published by Tencent on Weibo Tuesday.

Some Weibo commenters called the detailed user profiles “a little creepy,” quoting WeChat’s denial in January 2018 that it doesn’t use user chat data for big-data analysis.

But others weren’t perturbed by how much WeChat knows about them — many asked where they could see their own personalized WeChat usage reports.

In late 2017, the average daily figures were 38 billion messages and 206 million calls on the App.

Usage of WeChat increased in nearly every aspect of Chinese life last year. Nearly five times more people used WeChat to purchase public transport tickets than the year before, and 2.9 times more people used WeChat to pay for medical expenses. And, among users 19 and younger, monthly payments for drinks and desserts grew 230% compared with 2017.

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