Tencent explains WeChat’s unexpected exposure to foreign search engines: Web crawling account protocols flaw

Tencent has fixed a bug he found on his popular messaging app WeChat Friday which exposed social media content to external search engines, such as Bing and Google.

“Due to recent technology upgrades to the platform, a loophole was found in the official accounts bots protocol, which allowed external web crawlers to access some of the platform’s content. official WeChat accounts, “Tencent said in a statement Friday. “The flaw is now fixed.”

Browsing the web is a typical search engine activity to discover publicly available web pages and extract data. The incident sparked a discussion, particularly as to why WeChat only opened its search to foreign browsers, not domestic ones.

According to previous reports, this unexpected crash was caused by the fact that the robots.txt file from WeChat official account website was deleted. This file is a robots protocol, whose full name is “Robots Exclusion Protocol”. Through this protocol, the website tells search engines which pages can be crawled and which pages cannot.

Not so long ago, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other government departments demanded that national platforms be more open. Mechanisms such as external chain shielding will be lifted to facilitate link sharing by users. WeChat also started allowing users to access links outside of its own platform since September 17 of this year.

SEE ALSO: Chinese tech companies urged to stop blocking access to links from other people’s websites

In the current environment, the pace of interconnection of payment systems is also accelerating. Pinduoduo and Meituan have accessed more payment channels including WeChat payment, Alipay, Quick pass, Apple Pay, etc. UnionPay QuickPass can now be rated on WeChat and Taobao mini-programs, while the WeChat payment collection code and Unionpay QuickPass app can recognize and scan each other.

Rosemary S. Bishop