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Coming up with an excuse for not answering instant messages might be more difficult if you're sharing your battery status. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Find out if your friend’s battery is low through Tencent's chat app

QQ’s new features have sparked privacy concerns

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

“My battery died” has long been a popular excuse for being too lazy to answer messages (along with “I missed the notification” and “the dog ate my phone”). Well, Tencent’s instant messaging app QQ now has a feature that shows exactly how much juice your contacts actually have left in their batteries.

The newest version of QQ introduced real-time sharing of your smartphone’s battery levels and signal status. It might seem like a less creepy feature than the Chinese app that shares your location to friends at all times, but nevertheless, it has sparked privacy worries. If your signal and battery level are high, for instance, it could signal that you are at home to QQ friends you would rather not see.
Luckily, Tencent said that the feature is completely optional, according to local media. The update also added pre-set statuses for when you’re too busy to chat, such as “studying” or “traveling.”
Inspired by ICQ, QQ is one of China’s oldest messaging platforms. With over 800 million users, it’s not as omnipresent as Tencent’s other chat app,  WeChat, which has over a billion users. QQ, however, has kept some of its popularity -- thanks to teens who are eager to avoid their parents on WeChat. It even had a little cameo in the film Spider-Man: Enter the Spider-Verse.
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