It was reported on Monday that Scott Morrison’s WeChat account had been ‘hacked’. It was all utterly bizarre. The owner of WeChat, Tencent, says it isn’t a hack or a hijack, rather a misunderstanding of account ownership.
Senior Coalition MPs yesterday accused China’s government of foreign interference after Prime Minister Scott Morrison had his WeChat account ‘hijacked’. They called for a boycott of the app.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, meanwhile, said the news of Morrison’s WeChat problems was of “real concern,” but he stopped short of promising to boycott the platform.
But what actually happened? In a report from The Daily Telegraph, we learned the PM’s WeChat account was renamed and the account description changed.
The name was “Australian-Chinese New Life”, and the description: “Providing living in Australia information for the Chinese community”.
Morrison has 76,000 WeChat followers.
As we learn from the ABC, a post on the account said: “Thank you for your continued interest in our WeChat public account. Scott Morrison, the WeChat public account you previously followed, has moved all its operations and functions to this WeChat public account”.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Tencent, the owner of WeChat, says “there is no evidence of any hacking or third-party intrusion”.
Rather, it was a dispute over ownership.
“The account in question was originally registered by a PRC individual and was subsequently transferred to its current operator, a technology services company – and it will be handled in accordance with our platform rules,” Tencent said in a statement.
Tencent added it would continue looking into the matter, and that it was committed to upholding the security of all WeChat accounts.
The New York Times earlier this afternoon published a pretty in-depth explainer on the whole saga, if you’re keen for a longer read. We’ll update this piece if we learn anything more.