Baidu-backed video platform Haokan has accused tech giant Tencent of anti-competitive behavior after its video content was blocked on WeChat Moments, the platform’s equivalent of Facebook’s News Feed.
Haokan took to microblogging platform Weibo to voice its grievances, saying that content being shared from Haokan to WeChat’s popular feed feature was only visible to the sharer, rather than to his or her contacts.
“Sorry for all Haokan pals, we won’t be able to meet on WeChat,” the company said to its users. “We offer our deepest apologies to our users. The blame is all on us because we are not “Weishi (the video app backed by Tencent).”
Tencent responded by saying that WeChat banned Haokan content because it breached the messaging platform’s external link principles as a result of its “online earning behavior.” No further details were given. Tencent suggests Haokan perform a “self-inspection” and submit an email appeal.
The competition between Chinese tech giants is reaching a feverish pitch. China’s booming short video services are quickly eating up the time netizens spend on WeChat. Tencent is trying to keep up with the video trend after launching more than 10 video apps targeting different user groups. At the same time, it is defending its position in the market by limiting access to rival platforms on WeChat, China’s dominant entry point for online services.
WeChat rolled out tightened restrictions on sharing external video links in its Moments feed in May. The move affected all the mainstream video and music platforms in China, including short video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou. It quickly reversed its decision as it came under public pressure.
Although external sharing is not totally banned, sharing content from non-Tencent related platforms does involve more effort. Kuaishou users have to copy an auto-generated link for the video and then paste it in WeChat before sharing. Douyin users have to save the short videos locally before reloading and share it to WeChat.