WeChat switches splash screen featuring NASA's "Blue Marble" to an image of the Earth taken by a Chinese satellite

The messaging app once had the Blue Marble picture of the Earth which was taken by NASA from outer space in 1972. The new picture has been taken by China’s first unit of geo-stationary meteorological satellite FY-4 series.

A day after WhatsApp was blocked in China, WeChat, Beijing’s messaging app and once a rival of the former, has changed the splash screen of the app. WeChat now shows the splash screen a replica of NASA's Blue Marble focusing on China and Indonesia.

WeChat switches splash screen featuring NASAs Blue Marble to an image of the Earth taken by a Chinese satellite

Representative Image.

The messaging app once had the Blue Marble picture of the Earth which was taken by NASA from outer space in 1972. The new picture has been taken by China’s first unit of geo-stationary meteorological satellite FY-4 series. According to the People's Daily, China, the FY-4 series was launched in December. However, it was officially put to use on 25 September. The picture was taken, is similar to the photoshopped one taken by NASA where a boy is at the centre.

Launched in 2011, Wechat has emerged to be one of the standalone messaging apps, over the years. Moreover, the messaging app recently received flak for risking the privacy of its users. According to its private policy it has agreed to share private user information with the government.

According to The Verge this is China’s attempt to change the splash screen to be a political one since it coincides with China’s communist agenda to propagate nationalism. This is unlike the previous splash screen where the shot of Earth depicted Africa. Africa is believed to be the origin of human civilization, and showing China now indicates that the region is the focus of the human civilisation.

Despite the political motivations, the image can be seen as a success of China’s first FengYun-4-01 which was put to use after successful trials. According to a Redditors the change seems to have been made globally and not just those who are using it in China.

The new splash screen image is supposed to be live from September 25 to September 28.

Recently, security experts had confirmed that China has blocked popular messaging platform WhatsApp in its region. Users of WhatsApp in China have faced interruptions over the past few months as users were barred from sending or receiving images and videos, but the latest ban has been confirmed to apply to text messages as well.

Tech2 is now on WhatsApp. For all the buzz on the latest tech and science, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Tech2.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.





Top Stories


also see

science