Japan's chat app LINE which is reportedly challenging Facebook in terms of the number of users, is now set to bow down to the Chinese government by building a mechanism to censor contends of its users in China.
It seems LINE is following the footsteps of Tencent-owned WeChat to censor politically sensitive phrases including expressions like "Tiananmen Square massacre" and "Tibetan self-immolation".
A Taiwanese Twitter user @hirakujira initially tweeted that the Japanese mobile messaging platform is preparing a mechanism to detect and restrict certain usage of words in the country.
Though the censorship feature is yet to be launched officially, the Taiwanese twitter user proved that the censorship feature already existed on the messaging platform.
Apparently after typing some "censored" words, the Taiwanese's mobile phone user received a message which when translated into English from Mandarin read as, "Your message contains sensitive words, please adjust and send again."
The Taiwanese also got access to LINE's china service, Lianwo and obtained a list of 150 "bad words" that the company will censor whenever one uses these words.
Since WeChat is developed and owned by a Chinese company, many Tibetans and Chinese human rights activists prefer LINE and Kakao Talk over WeChat but the latest news could be a bad news to the human rights activists.
Even though WeChat dominants in China, LINE was launched in the country last December and its lack of censorship was the only advantage that LINE had over WeChat in the country.
The Japanese mobile app currently has 45 million registered users in Japan and it has crossed the milestone of 150 million users worldwide. LINE's market in Southeast Asia, Spain and Latin America has been growing rapidly in recent months.
Asian mobile apps like Kakao Talk from South Korea, WeChat from China and LINE from Japan in recent times have become highly competitive to the leading global social network Facebook.