Pony Ma Calls 'Libel' on Fellow Tech CEO in WeChat Spat
Liao Shumin
/SOURCE : Yicai
Pony Ma Calls 'Libel' on Fellow Tech CEO in WeChat Spat

(Yicai Global) May 9 -- Tencent founder Pony Ma has come into the spotlight again with another post on his firm's WeChat messaging and payment app.

Zhang Yiming, chief executive of Beijing Bytedance Technology Co., posted a message on WeChat yesterday crowing over the victory of his firm's video-sharing app Douyin (known outside China as Tik Tok), which has vanquished both Facebook and WeChat to become the most-downloaded iPhone app in the first quarter.

Bytedance Technology is the parent of Douyin and Toutiao, a news aggregator popular in China.

Zhang accused WeChat of resorting to a pretext to block Douyin, and of plagiarizing Douyin content on its own short video app Weishi. He then commented beneath the post "The ban by WeChat of plagiarized content published on Weishi will not stop Douyin's advance."

Pony Ma, Tencent's chairman and chief executive officer, responded to the message by posting on WeChat's Moments section "[This] can be understood as libel."

Zhang soon explained that he did not want to trigger a war of words, but just could not help himself. "The ban by WeChat is not a suitable topic for discussion, but [I] can prove that Weishi published plagiarized content." The evidence can be sent directly to Ma, he added.

Tencent confirmed with state media The Paper the authenticity of the screenshot. Zhang Yiming indeed posted the WeChat message, Bytedance said, but declined to confirm the content of the comments Ma and Zhang added.

Tencent announced its WeChat and social platform QQ will end playback of short video apps, including Douyin and Tencent's own Weishi. Users must in future copy links by hand and use a browser to view such videos. The move follows an official crackdown last month on social media and live-streaming sites over inimical content

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Keywords: Zhang Yiming , TENCENT , Bytedance , Douyin