We hope that you like your profile picture on WeChat, because you’re stuck with it until the end of the month.
Just as the 19th Party Congress opens in Beijing, WeChat has made it impossible for users to change their nickname, tagline or profile photo, a restriction that will be in place until the start of November — and which the social media giant is unconvincingly putting down to “system maintenance.”
Apparently, the restriction only applies to WeChat users in China.
— Li Jing (@bylijing) October 17, 2017
Eve of the 19th party congress: WeChat suddenly announces users are blocked from changing avatars, nicknames and taglines till end of month pic.twitter.com/QoEMnY1eyF
— Matthew Brennan (@MattyBGooner) October 17, 2017
At the twice-in-a-decade meeting, which began earlier today, Xi Jinping is expected to start his second five-year term as China’s leader by consolidating his power in a much-anticipated leadership reshuffle. While this will all be extremely significant in the long term, in the short term, the congress is known more for ramped up censorship efforts and internet connections slower than molasses.
Last month, China announced new, stricter rules governing chat groups on WeChat, while also frequently blocking its foreign competitor, WhatsApp. Meanwhile, the city of Beijing has gone into a similar lockdown with clubs, Airbnb properties and home renovations also being suspended while the all-important congress is in session.
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