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Personal experience, emojis largely enrich my chats with friends and family. That’s one of the reasons I prefer WeChat over WhatsApp. In fact, WeChat even created platform to invite artists to create more emojis for the app.

I guess animated icons trump concerns about privacy and monitoring by a surveillance state [1]

1: https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/30/17302720/wechat-deleted-m...

How does this article support the idea that WeChat raises concerns about monitorig by a surveillance state?

The Chinese authorities in the article didn't "monitor" anything. They retrieved the deleted message from the phone itself. For all we know, it could be as innocuous as running a SQLite DELETE to delete the message and the scheduled vacuum hasn't run yet. I don't see any convincing evidence of either actual monitoring or Tencent conspiring to allow such monitoring.

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