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And We Chat, which offers both private messaging and payment services, has been right at the center of that move—last year, a video went viral that showed a woman teaching another how to use We Chat and other chat apps to attract customers for sex work.Still, aside from the arrest of 11 people in an alleged prostitution ring operating on We Chat last year, there have been no widespread crackdowns on selling sex on the messaging platform until now. The fact that millions of Chinese internet users are turning to We Chat to post their thoughts, chat, and keep up with the news—thoughts and news that might not be approved by China’s censors—may be one reason for more scrutiny.

Last August, Tencent’s vice president, Ding Ke, insisted that We Chat was innocent of any alleged infringements.

During an interview at which he barred local media from asking questions about privacy, Ding said that We Chat takes steps to ensure that users’ privacy is maintained while the company is handling their data.

China’s censorship regime is still figuring out how to keep tabs on the increasingly popular chat app, which is taking internet users away from the microblog Weibo, a platform authorities have spent years monitoring and censoring relatively successfully.

We Chat isn’t the only messaging app to come under criticism for providing a platform for solicitation, but with 396 million monthly active users (pdf), it is China’s most popular.

Pursuing prostitution may simply be the best way to rein in the most successful social media giants.

Prostitution, which is technically illegal but largely condoned and rampant in China, has been increasingly moving from red-light districts on to the internet and mobile phones, as it has around the world.Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor has unblocked China’s We Chat, the popular social media app developed by Tencent Technology, after banning it last week, according to a statement on the Russian regulator’s website on Thursday.A company named We Chat International had provided the information necessary for the social media software’s registration at Roskomnadzor, officially known as the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications.” one user wrote on microblog platform Weibo, referring to instances of content appearing to be censored. But Wei Xingguo, a chief technology officer from Hangzhou-headquartered cybersecurity company More Sec, said that internet logs and chat logs are not the same thing: The former, he explained, refers to when or where someone accesses We Chat’s servers, not the content of their messages.“Tencent has lots of ways to make money that don’t involve invading customers’ privacy,” Wei told Sixth Tone, adding that companies as large as Tencent would not want to profit from things that could hurt both their reputation and stock price.While Wei acknowledged that users were edgy about privacy, he attributed this to them not understanding the cloud technology required to store such a massive amount of data.Cybersecurity fears were reignited on Monday when Li Shufu, the billionaire chairman of Hangzhou-headquartered automaker Geely, directed barbs at Tencent-owned We Chat during his keynote address at an entrepreneurship forum.

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