Search Engines Directly Pick up Content from Chinese Social Media WeChat

Garrett_Li

Garrett_Li

· 10月22日

A number of search engines, including Google and Microsoft Bing, could reportedly search content posted by WeChat official accounts on WeChat on Friday.

BEIJING, October 22 (TMTPOST)— A number of search engines, including Google and Microsoft Bing, could reportedly search content posted by WeChat official accounts on WeChat on Friday. This means that WeChat starts to allow search engines other than Tencent’s own Sogou engine to access content on WeChat. The content that could be found via search engines includes both articles and videos posted by WeChat official accounts.

Source: Visual China

China’s most used search engine Baidu, however, cannot pick up content from WeChat yet. Founded in 2000 in China, Baidu search engine is currently one of the largest websites in the Alexa Internet rankings. In June this year, Baidu monthly active users reached 580 million, and daily logged-in users reached 77%, according to its latest financial results.

However, WeChat’s team has denied the news report, commenting that it is untrue that they have made WeChat’s content available for searching on Google and Microsoft Bing. According to WeChat, there have been loopholes generated by the robots agreement of WeChat official account system due to recent system maintenance and upgrades, which has enabled external algorithms to pick up some content published by WeChat official accounts. The loopholes have all been fixed, according to WeChat’s team.

WeChat is now one of the main portals for Chinese users to access information. In the second quarter of 2021, WeChat had over 1.25 billion monthly active users from a wide range of age groups. Chinese users use WeChat to message their families, friends, and colleagues, pay bills and consume content published by WeChat official accounts. Major news outlets in China mostly have their own official accounts on WeChat as it is an important platform to communicate information in the country.

Content published by WeChat official accounts is currently available for searching on Tencent’s own platforms, including WeChat and Sogou search engine.

Users might be able to find articles reproduced by other outlets via a search on Baidu and other search engines.

On September 17, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China mandated that Internet platforms should remove their weblink barriers against each other. Chinese Internet giants such as Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance then started to open to one another gradually. It is worth noting that Chinese Internet companies previously restrict access to external platforms as a way to retain their users to their own platform.

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