WeChat Rules and Marketing Restrictions

1. Main regulations applicable

WeChat is blocking links from third party platforms and enforcing strict rules about how and where external links can be placed. 

Several types of content with external links that may be blocked on WeChat: 

  • Content that forces or entices users to share something (e.g. a WeChat article) in order to proceed to the next step, like getting information, winning a prize or taking part in a campaign; sometimes with benefits provided, including but not limited to cash, coupons, discounts and prizes
  • Content that forces or entices users to follow an official account in order to proceed to the next step, like getting information, winning a prize or taking part in a campaign
  • H5 games and tests that entice users for interactions, including friend Q&A, personality tests, online fortune telling or prediction games, etc.
  • Fraudulent content, including fake red packets or campaigns, and content that imitates the style and domain name of otherWeChat articles and accounts and may cause confusion
  • Rumors or false information that may cause harm to individuals, corporations, or other institutions
  • Spam, ads, and junk content, including information about counterfeit goods, ads making fraudulent claims, ads for cryptocurrencies, etc.
  • Content with sensational, exaggerated, or misleading headlines that don’t match the content as well as pornographic, erotic, and vulgar content
  • Content designed for the collection of users’ personal data or information without the user’s knowledge or consent
  • Content soliciting donations to religious organizations
  • Content offering payment for votes
  • Content and incentive program that entice users to share their products on WeChat’s Moments by offering them rewards (Source: WeChat Cracks Down on Accounts Offering Incentives to Share | May 2019 [CX Live])
  • Content that forces or entices users to invite clicks from contacts to avoid spamming contact (Source: WeChat bans external links asking users to spam contacts | October 2019 [Technode])

According to WeChat’s regulations, once found, these external links will be blocked immediately and the related official account may also be sanctioned. In the worst case scenario, this can lead to a permanent ban.

Source: A Comprehensive Guide to External Links on WeChat | May 2018 [Jing Daily]

3. Keywords to avoid

Due to the “Great Firewall” of China, multinational companies in China has encountered many problems in both internal and international communication. Now, the most popular communication tool, WeChat, is also said to be monitored by the government.

Recently, WeChat messages that violated the government policy in online publication have disappeared without notice. On June 8, many public accounts were even shut down by WeChat because they were spreading too much celebrities gossip.

To avoid the being detected by keywords censorship on WeChat, Xinhua Media – a Chinese state-owned publication – has released some guidelines for brands on how to adjust their contents. According to the guidelines, such extreme keywords as “the best”, “the most famous, “movie king, etc. must not be included.

Source: What Sensitive Keywords On WeChat Could Mean for Brands | November 2017 [Jing Daily]

4. Updates and timeline

DateUpdatesSource / more details
February 2019WeChat said it has closed thousands of official accounts as part of its ongoing effort to clean up contentSouth China Morning Post
Updated on 2019-10-22

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