Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account was taken over by a small Chinese technology company which said it bought the page because of its large fanbase, Reuters reported.
Morrison’s account was renamed “Australia China New Life” in January by Fuzhou 985 Technology which told Reuters that it wasn’t aware the page was previously connected to the prime minister.
The account, which had a picture of Morrison in the profile picture, was used to post information about the PM’s policies in Mandarin for Australian voters who were of Chinese ethnic origin, according to reports.
Reuters reported that a Fuzhou 985 Technology employee with the surname Huang said the company decided to buy the account because of its large fanbase of 76,000 followers, per the publication and Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph.
Huang told Reuters that the tech firm was looking to buy a WeChat account which had a large amount of followers from the Chinese community in Australia.
The employee said that Fuzhou 985 Technology planned to delete the previous posts on the account but was waiting for WeChat owner Tencent’s final reply on the matter.
Tencent said in a statement to Reuters that the situation appeared to be a “dispute over account ownership,” adding that the account was first registered by a Chinese individual and was then transferred to the tech firm.
Morrison is likely to have lost access to the WeChat page in July 2021.