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2022-11-15 10:00:50

A popular shopping app targeting young consumers has been accused of accessing one of its shoppers’ phones and attempting to delete a video, raising concerns over tech companies intruding on user privacy.

A shopper said that Dewu, also known as Poizon, was trying to delete a video that he had recorded and shared with the company in which he complained about goods he bought on the platform during the “Double Eleven” event Friday, according to domestic media reports, citing the user. But he immediately received a notification on his Huawei phone informing him that it had detected and successfully blocked Dewu from deleting the video.

A separate video detailing the ordeal and shared on Douyin has now led to discussions over how apps may be collecting users’ data, including their contact lists and photos, without their knowledge.

Apps invading users’ privacy has been an ongoing issue, with a 2018 report by the country’s consumer rights watchdog saying that 91 out of 100 apps it examined were over-collecting data. To tackle the issue, China introduced its first comprehensive legislation on personal data protection in 2021, allowing companies to only gather user information “with a specific purpose and under strict protection measures.”

Responding to the allegation, Dewu on Sunday said that the company had “no intention to conduct such improper behavior, such as clearing users’ photo albums.”

“We don’t have the technology to identify the large number of videos stored on users’ devices in bulk, let alone delete them.”

In a separate statement that same day, Dewu said it was trying to delete the temporary cache file and not the user’s video. It attached a flowchart on its Weibo account illustrating how the cache was created and said it was investigating the allegations.

Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: VCG)