On Tuesday afternoon around 4 p.m, blurry photos started appearing in WeChat “Moments,” or the newsfeed feature of the social media platform. Clicking on a blurry photo revealed a small piece of the original photograph and gave users an ultimatum: send the photo owner a “red envelope” (红包) filled with a random amount of money using WeChat’s online payment system and see the original photo, or refuse and the photo remains blurry.

The campaign was shut down about four hours later. According to Tencent’s tech news platform, yesterday’s photo campaign was just a test.

“Because our beta test met our expectations, we shut down the campaign. If you’re interested in playing the red envelope photo campaign again, we’ll have another one on Chinese New Year’s Eve,” stated Tencent, the tech giant that owns WeChat.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).