Over the past few weeks, we've been seeing TV advertisements of a smartphone app named "WeChat." I first saw it during a live cricket broadcast, but it went on to appear on several TV channels, and at prime-time spots. It made me wonder how a free app developer could afford such expensive TV ad spots, given how there are countless alternatives to WeChat, and as someone who knows an app developer, I have a good idea how little money there is, in even having a hundred million people running your app; heck, it would still not be enough to afford prime-time TV ad spots across Indian television. I then did some digging around, and found out that WeChat has a global presence, and like in India, its developers are spending enormous amounts of money advertising the app elsewhere. In Latin America, for example, they roped in Lionel Messi as brand ambassador. There's no way that a company with just $25 million in market cap can afford a global marketing campaign of this scale, unless it's being funded by someone else. That made me dig a little deeper. Apparently, WeChat is backed by a Chinese internet company called Tencent, which also runs huge Chinese portals such as QQ. Since western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are banned in China, because their openness could make them fertile rally-points for political dissidence, most of Tencent's sites have taken over similar functions: a full-scale social network (QQ), a micro-blogging site (Weibo), and an P2P sales and collaboration site (PaiPai). All three of these sites are considered "politically kosher," because the Chinese government is known to employ countless Internet users infinitesimal amounts of money to comb these sites for anti-government or anti-China content, and report to the authorities. QQ, like most PRC-based successful companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, are deeply rooted with the Chinese Communist Party. I hence feel that patronage of WeChat, even if it's free, is a threat to national security, as it effectively gives the Chinese government not just access to our chats, but rest of our smartphones. When installing the app on Android, you consent to giving the app access to other areas of your smartphone such as SMS inbox, contacts, etc; and that is a huge privacy hole! Discuss.