Tencent: They Know You But You Dont Know Them

Imagine a company so massive and powerful that it has a hand in every single one of your favorite apps, software, and games. Imagine that this company has access to all the information from the apps you use and is based in a foreign country with a government that is allegedly all-powerful and controlling. Now stop imagining, because this company is real and its name is Tencent.

Tencent is a Chinese multinational technology, entertainment, and holding company located in Shenzhen and is currently the 10th most valuable company by market cap in the world (CompaniesMarketCap.com). Tencent has ownership in Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Epic Games, Supercell, WeChat, Discord, and a plethora of well-established companies in the United States. Ownership in some of these companies comes with a few perks. One of these perks is access to data that the company has collected. Even companies that boast about not selling or sharing your information may give access to this data to Tencent. For example, Discord boasts one of the most user-friendly Privacy Policies out there, never selling your data or sharing it unless absolutely necessary. However, if you read carefully in their privacy policy, you will see the following line, “we may share information with our related companies, including parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, and other companies under common control and ownership.” This statement is not inherently an issue, as it is not uncommon within privacy policies to include the companies affiliated with the one providing a product or service. However, it does raise concern as to where this data goes if companies in foreign nations receive it. According to the New York Times, this concern reached a pivotal point during Donald Trump’s presidency when a ban on Chinese apps such as WeChat and TikTok was announced. This ban later fell through before any action was taken but did lead to a rise in the public’s concern about who actually has access to their data. Currently, there has not been any evidence found to support any claims that Tencent is working with the CCP to share data that the company has collected.

Data collection is not just a task but also a profitable business model. Companies can use this data in many ways. However, the law allows us to feel secure knowing that any data collected cannot be used with malicious intent. Although, one should still be diligent in researching who has a stake in the company they are submitting information to in order to rest assured that their information is only in the hands of companies they are comfortable with.





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