China sues Tencent over WeChat’s ‘youth mode’

WeChat may be an integral part of China’s digital life, but that doesn’t stop the country’s government from restricting the messaging giant’s behavior. Reuters reports that Beijing prosecutors have sued Tencent over allegations that We Chat’s restricted “youth mode” violates child protection laws. The lawsuit failed to explain how the mode allegedly violated the law.

Youth mode prevents younger users from accessing payments, making friends nearby, and playing certain games. It is effectively a parental control tool for a “super app” that can handle many daily tasks in China.

Tencent did not comment on the lawsuit. It recently put stricter limits on young Honor of Kings players, limiting their game time to just one hour a day on weekdays.

The suit could be part of a wider raid. China’s state media blew up the game industry and online platforms just this week, and officials previously called for better protection against online threats to children. The country has also recently turned much of its attention to curbing tech giants like Tencent, Alibaba and Didi and beating them with antitrust fines and temporary app bans – the lawsuit could be an extension of those efforts.

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