WeChat bans nefarious external linking

On October 18, 2019, WeChat updated its regulation of external links. The new rules ban external links that encourage clicks for nefarious purposes.

This includes:

  • Stealing user profile information
  • Incentivizing app downloads
  • Sharing harassing or spammy links with users and/or inserting these links into WeChat articles
  • Requiring users to share chainmail to qualify for a discount or participate in a marketing scheme
  • Launching fake or fraudulent sweepstakes; launching legitimate sweepstakes without rules
  • Unapproved gaming

For such prohibited external linking, WeChat may restrict access to the IP address and temporarily block the offending WeChat official account and/or sharing interface. Under serious circumstances, WeChat will permanently block the offending account(s).

Here, we detail how to avoid each offense so that your WeChat official account can remain in good standing.

Stealing User Profile Information

The example below shows an ad for which the company took advantage of user profile information to post external links, seemingly to increase sharing and click throughs. However, with the new rules, this is not allowed.

Incentivizing App Downloads

It is now disallowed to incentivize app downloads through an external link on WeChat.

Your WeChat links cannot imply monetary rewards, physical prizes, virtual prizes (including but not limited to red envelopes, coupons, vouchers, points, phone charges, traffic, information, etc.), or other benefits for app downloads.

Below is an example of an external link that is no longer allowed on WeChat.

Sharing harassing or spammy links with followers and/or inserting these links into WeChat articles

The dissemination of nefarious content, such as harassment, fraud, spam advertising, false winning information, misleading healthcare, pharmaceutical, and food information, fake and inferior commodity information, false service information, false network currency information, etc., is now disallowed.

Below is an example of an external link that is no longer allowed on WeChat.

Requiring users to share chainmail to qualify for a discount or participate in a marketing scheme

It is now not allowed to entice users to share/disseminate chainmail content that promises monetary rewards, in-kind prizes, virtual prizes (including but not limited to red envelopes, coupons, vouchers, points, phone charges, traffic, information, etc.), etc.

Below is an example of an external link that is no longer allowed on WeChat.

Launching fake or fraudulent sweepstakes; launching legitimate sweepstakes without rules

It is no longer allowed to launch fake or fraudulent sweepstakes. It is also not allowed to launch legitimate sweepstakes without clear and unambiguous rules of engagement.

Below is an example of an external link that is no longer allowed on WeChat.

Games or Tests

Links that go to external games, tests, or other types of content that entice user participation are no longer allowed on WeChat. This includes hand-speed games, Q&A games, personality tests, web games, etc.

To increase followers and engagement, many brands have previously launched a gaming/test campaign. WeChat offers H5 as its platform to launch games (as opposed to linking off WeChat to an external gaming site), but still emphasizes quality, so ensure your content is valuable, authoritative, and not spammy for WeChat’s H5 games.

Below is an example of an external link that is no longer allowed on WeChat.

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WeChat always iterates its rules and regulations to best meet user needs. Be sure to check back to our blog often for the latest WeChat updates.

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