What happened: Messaging and social media platform QQ announced, 20 years after its debut, that it will allow users to cancel their accounts. Once a QQ account and its associated number has been canceled, all user information will automatically be deleted. The instant messaging service was one of internet titan Tencent’s earliest products and once its mainstay, but its popularity has somewhat diminished following the 2011 launch of WeChat and other mobile apps. Some veteran users, however, have expressed reluctance to part with their accounts. “I painstakingly took care of it for so long, why should I cancel?? I was planning to pass it on to my son,” one wrote. Others reminisced about past hours or money spent on QQ’s services.
Why it’s important: Despite its lengthy run, in 2014 QQ clocked a landmark 200 million users using its platform simultaneously. Unlike fellow veteran social platform Renren, it has managed to retain relevance. While WeChat’s one billion monthly active user (MAU) figure surpassed QQ’s more than 800 million MAU and older users may have moved on to other platforms, it remains a vital part of Tencent’s social ecosystem. Tencent’s news, music, video streaming, and gaming platforms are all branded as “QQ.” In addition, the string of digits used as QQ ID and email addresses has become an element of contemporary culture, as some netizens’ comments show. “My QQ is my only eight-figure ‘asset,’” one wrote jokingly, referring to the fact that due to the volume of users, relatively shorter usernames are a rarity.