(Yicai Global) Dec. 17 -- An excessive number of mobile applications now have embedded advertisements that cannot be closed with a simple click, infringing the rights of consumers, according to a Shanghai consumer watchdog group. Social messaging app WeChat and car service platform Autohome, backed by internet giant Tencent Holdings, are among the offenders.
The Shanghai Consumer Council randomly selected 600 apps between September and November to monitor their ad content. Fifty-eight percent of these posted advertisements and almost 70 percent of the ads could not be closed by clicking on them, it said yesterday.
Web surfers need to be able to easily close pop-up ads, it said, referring to China’s advertising laws. Platforms can only offer customized ads if they have access to a consumer's personal information. Therefore the user should have the right to close them if he or she is not interested, it added.
To shut an ad down on WeChat, though, is a complex procedure that requires changing the phone’s settings and is only valid for six months, it added.
More attention needs to be paid to the chaotic advertising, false publicity and hidden promotional agendas appearing on mobile apps so as to protect the rights and interests of consumers, the watchdog said.
Editor: Kim Taylor