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WeChat hits back at claims of Morrison’s ‘hacking’

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Gladys Liu says she would support a boycott of WeChat over allegations about its handling of the PM's account. Photo: AAP
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An ownership dispute, and not “hacking or third-party intrusion”, is behind the rebranding of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account, the operator of the Chinese social media platform says.

Coalition members have backed a WeChat boycott in retaliation for what they said was Mr Morrison account being taken over and rebranded as “Australian Chinese new life”.

But WeChat’s owner, Chinese tech giant Tencent, insisted “there is no evidence of any hacking or third-party intrusion”.

“Based on our information, this appears to be a dispute over account ownership,” Tencent said in a statement.

“The account in question was originally registered by a PRC individual and was subsequently transferred to its current operator, a technology services company – and it will be handled in accordance with our platform rules.”

Tencent said it would continuing looking into the matter, and was committed to upholding the security of all WeChat accounts.

Liberal MP Gladys Liu earlier said she would support a boycott of the platform because of “serious concerns of political interference”.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham encouraged all Australians to reconsider their use of WeChat.

Liberal senator James Paterson, who chairs parliament’s intelligence and security committee, alleged the blocking of Mr Morrison’s account was sanctioned by the Chinese government and amounted to foreign interference.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg called on WeChat to restore access to the account.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese flagged he would seek a meeting with Mr Morrison to discuss any national security implications.

-AAP