With more than a billion monthly users, WeChat ranks as one of the top messaging apps in the world. It is most prevalent in China and other Asian markets but has also grown in popularity in the West. It is free to download and has been around for over a decade. Consequently, the company has its fair share of experience and resources to ensure a seamless chat experience. Not surprisingly, businesses have incorporated WeChat into their business communications. That has led to concerns regarding WeChat compliance.
What Are the WeChat Compliance Concerns?
All businesses have an obligation to protect consumer data. Companies serving clients in areas with data privacy laws face even stronger requirements. Examples include the following:
- The European Union, which the General Data Protection Regulation protects
- California, which the California Consumer Privacy Act protects
- The People’s Republic of China, which the Personal Information Protection Law protects
In these and other regions with data privacy laws, consumers have rights regarding how companies collect, store, use, and share their data. Consumers also enjoy variations to the right to be forgotten, which gives consumers the right to request total deletion of their data.
Companies must balance these with other compliance requirements. For example, companies in the financial and security markets usually have requirements to store data related to business transactions for several years. Failure to do so could lead to millions of dollars in fines.
What Are Some Challenges for WeChat Compliance?
American consumers have grown increasingly concerned about providing Chinese companies with access to their data. Several Chinese companies have come under fire during the ongoing trade wars between China and the United States. These range from TikTok to DJI. You only need to read consumer reviews to see the repeated concerns about giving Chinese entities access to personal data.
Companies that use these and other Chinese applications may need to take extra steps to reassure consumers that their data is protected and that third-party agents will not misuse it. In some cases, companies can simplify WeChat’s privacy agreements, so users can understand what the app collects more easily. Companies that archive chats must also detail what they collect and why.
Another top concern is that, unlike its rivals, WeChat does not provide any encryption. This might not present a problem for some companies or even some aspects of a business. However, failure to use encrypted communication channels could result in claims of negligence against a company, especially when transmitting sensitive data.
What Are Some WeChat Compliance Best Practices?
Companies should evaluate whether using an unencrypted communication channel affects their compliance strategies. Business risk experts might recommend not using WeChat, whether it affects compliance and data privacy issues. That said, some companies have been able to add extra layers of protection by using secure networks and sending encrypted files when necessary.
Here are some additional WeChat best practices to consider:
- Develop a WeChat compliance policy: Define what data you collect and why. Also, develop a procedure for responding to customer requests to delete their data.
- Educate your employees: Teach them about the compliance risks of using WeChat and other applications. In some cases, it might be best to ban some professionals from using these applications for work, such as accountants.
- Monitor user activity: Use a WeChat monitoring tool to detect when employees send sensitive data. You can also use these tools to track your employees’ applications.
What Are Some WeChat Alternatives?
Companies operating in highly regulated markets should consider alternatives that provide encryption as a default. Doing so reduces the risk of running afoul of data protection laws. It also reduces the risk of breaches. Here are some other top options:
- WhatsApp: The Meta-owned chat app is one of the most popular worldwide. It uses end-to-end encryption by default, which makes it difficult for third parties to intercept and read messages.
- Signal: This is another top option that provides end-to-end encryption. However, it does not have the same market share as WhatsApp. While WhatsApp boasts roughly two billion users, Signal has about 20 million users.
- Telegram: This app also uses end-to-end encryption. However, it has had some security issues in the past. Nevertheless, it is more popular than Signal and boasts 700 million monthly users. Telegram also allows users to host multiple accounts on one device.
How Can Capturing and Archiving Solutions Assist With WeChat Compliance?
An instant message capturing and archiving solution can help organizations track employee communications. Tracking communications is important for several reasons:
- It can help ensure that your employees are not sending sensitive data through unencrypted channels.
- It can help you monitor which applications your employees use.
- It helps you respond to customer requests to delete their data.
Choosing the right solution plays a crucial role in your ability to ensure WeChat compliance. LeapXpert developers have fine-tuned our record-keeping solutions to comply with regulations worldwide. We also boast compatibility with multiple platforms, including WeChat and its alternatives. Contact us to learn more.