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CHINA BRIEF | Tencent and TikTok’s sister app Douyin both steal personal information, Beijing court rules

A victory for the individuals against tech giants.

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Beijing Internet Court ruled Thursday, in two separate cases, that Tencent and ByteDance’s short-video app Douyin, have both collected personal information without authorization, according to verdicts disclosed by the court on Friday.

Tencent was sued in May 2019 by a person surnamed Wang, who found that WeChat Dushu (Reading), a standalone app, recommended WeChat friends to him when he had never authorized WeChat to do so. In addition, the plaintiff noticed that he could even know what his friends were reading even when they had not connected in the WeChat Dushu app.

Douyin, which is an equivalent to TikTok but for the Chinese mainland, was sued in March 2019 by a person surnamed Ling. The plaintiff found that Douyin recommended him to add people he might know as friends on the short-video app, while these recommended persons were actually his classmates or friends.

The court ruled in favor of these two plaintiffs, demanding Tencent and Douyin stop the infringements, compensate the plaintiffs for their losses, and apologize to them separately.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.