Business and Human Rights

Tencent shareholders: have you checked your company's digital rights record?


Dear Vanguard Group, T. Rowe Price, and BlackRock,

The messaging and social networking apps Tencent creates count among the most popular in the world. Yet hundreds of millions of users remain in the dark about whether the company respects their rights to freedom of expression and privacy. As major shareholders, you can tell Tencent to adopt a human rights policy and respond to our letter. Trust in Tencent in China and abroad is at stake. We urge you to demand Tencent opens up today!

Our friends at Ranking Digital Rights released their 2015 Corporate Accountability Index, scoring major internet and telecommunications companies on how transparent they are about how they handle privacy and free expression. Access Now sent letters to ten companies outlining what they can do to improve transparency and better protect digital rights. We also called on them to publicly respond to the findings in the report.

We’ve heard back from six of those ten companies, but four of them — including Tencent — have failed to even respond to our letter, let alone take the steps needed to ensure their customers’ rights are respected.

These companies can have a huge impact on your human rights. They can give governments access to your data.They control decisions about access and Net Neutrality. They make decisions about whether you are censored. They have a major role to play in preventing internet shutdowns. And they often make these critical decisions without any transparency or public accountability.

On Wednesday, May 18th, Tencent, the largest internet service portal in China, is holding its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where shareholders come together to discuss the future of the company. Hundreds of millions of people use Tencent services like WeChat, QQ, and QZone for communication, e-commerce, information access, and more. The company’s published vision is to “become the most respected internet enterprise” and “a good corporate citizen.” But its leaders have yet to adopt a human rights policy committing to protect freedom of expression and privacy for its customers.

Let's make sure Tencent’s major shareholders are aware of the work that needs to be done to improve the company’s digital rights record. Ask them to raise these issues at the Tencent AGM next week, and to urge the board to respond to our letter.

Sign the petition now.

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