Bytedance Apps Filch Tencent's User Data, Chinese Court Rules
Zhang Yushuo | Lv Qian
DATE:  Mar 22 2019
/ SOURCE:  yicai
Bytedance Apps Filch Tencent's User Data, Chinese Court Rules Bytedance Apps Filch Tencent's User Data, Chinese Court Rules

(Yicai Global) March 22 -- A court in China has ruled Beijing ByteDance Technology-owned Toutiao's social apps unlawfully used Tencent's user information and ordered it to stop. 

ByteDance pledged to seek a review of the adverse judgment, which a court handed down yesterday in the eastern Chinese megacity of Tianjin. 

Tencent sued unicorn ByteDance, seeking an order for it to stop using its users' WeChat and QQ profile photos and nicknames.

ByteDance unit Toutiao, a news aggregator and content provider, unveiled the Snapchat-style video-based social app Duoshan late last year. It shares users' registration data with Toutiao's TikTok -- known as Douyin in China -- video-sharing mobile app. 

Many TikTok users registered for Duoshan using their Tencent-run WeChat and QQ social media accounts. Tencent had allowed users to register using their WeChat and QQ accounts until January. This caused user nicknames and profile photos to transfer to their new account with Douyin, which then used this data to recommend friends to these users and shared it with Duoshan.

Stung Into Action

This vexed the Shenzhen-based internet titan, which is cock of the walk in China's social app field.

"TikTok uses profile photos and nicknames of WeChat and QQ users and grants Duoshan access to Tencent user information by logging in to TikTok with their WeChat and QQ accounts without authorization," Tencent argued, saying this seriously impairs shared data security on open platforms and violates its users' rights and interests.

The court found Duoshan at fault on March 20 and directed TikTok to cut its access to Tencent's login authorization via WeChat and QQ accounts and stop accessing the user information.

Duoshan users' profile photos and nicknames come from TikTok, which accessed WeChat's open platform in December 2016, form which it received login authorization, Duoshan asserted. TikTok sent also push notifications requiring user consent before accessing their nicknames and profile photos when users registered using WeChat and QQ accounts.

Duoshan is exploiting Tencent and its behavior infringes its commercial interests, a Beijing lawyer told Yicai Global, adding it did not, however, violate the rights and interests of WeChat users since they voluntarily gave permission for the use of their data.

Editor: Ben Armour

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Keywords:   Tencent,Duoshan,ByteDance,profile photo,privacy