Briefing: WeChat testing feature that shares what friends read

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「看一看」改版,微信离张小龙想要的「社交推荐」更近了 – 36Kr

What happened: Mega messaging app WeChat is testing on a limited group of users a new feature on “Top Stories” page, which lists the most popular articles from WeChat official accounts they follow. Test users get new personal pages which show all the articles that they tapped “Wow” on for the past seven days. The pages showing each user’s “Wow”-rated articles are viewable by any other WeChat friend, who can simply click the link shown on the “Top Stories” page to access. “Wow” was initially translated in Chinese to to “Like,” then “Worth Reading” and now “I’m Reading” in WeChat, and is located at the bottom of content posted to the platform.

Why it’s important: WeChat launched “Top Stories” to compete with Jinri Touiao, the top news aggregator in China with 239 million monthly active users (MAU) as of December, according to data analytics firm QuestMobile. The platform wants to use “social recommendations” to encourage users to read what their friends are reading. However, critics say that pushing users to expose their interests to WeChat friends may increase peer pressure on the platform. The comment below 36Kr’s WeChat version of the article that received the most “Likes” said, “Since WeChat changed Likes to Wow, I hardly click it. I don’t like people to see what I am reading even though there is nothing I need to hide.”