On the left, an image of the Earth taken by NASA. On the right, an image of the Earth taken by a Chinese satellite.
China’s favorite social media app, WeChat, has made a small but politically significant change that you might not yet have noticed.
Since the app’s inception in 2011, WeChat users have been greeted by a silhouette figure staring off at Earth whenever they launch the app. This image of our planet is the iconic “Blue Marble” photograph taken by Apollo 17 crew members in 1972 — one of the most reproduced images in human history.
But, over the next few days, WeChat will begin using an image from a less popular, local artist. A photograph of the Earth that was taken by a Chinese weather satellite.
As you might have noticed, while the Blue Marble image prominently features the continent of Africa, this new photo has China right in the middle.
WeChat has said that the change in focus is intentional. Africa is the birthplace of mankind and an appropriate image for an app that was just starting out, but now it wants to draw the attention of its hundreds of millions of users to the wonders of Chinese civilization… and apparently clouds.
It’s not clear how this decision will play out in Africa, where WeChat is attempting to challenge Facebook and WhatsApp for mobile supremacy, but is finding the fight tougher without government assistance.
But, we can’t wait to see where in the world WeChat decides to draw attention to next!
[Images via The Paper]
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