Tencent hit back at claims it blocked ByteDance content from its WeChat and QQ messaging apps, threatening to take legal action in response to a lawsuit filed by its Chinese rival in a domestic court, Financial Times (FT) reported.

The newspaper stated Tencent dismissed ByteDance’s claims as “groundless and defamatory”, adding it planned to respond with legal action to defend its “healthy ecosystem”.

Various media reported ByteDance filed a lawsuit yesterday (2 February) alleging Tencent prevented WeChat and QQ users from freely sharing content from its rival’s Douyin video app. ByteDance claimed this violates Chinese competition law, and reportedly requested the court order Tencent to halt the practice and pay compensation of CNY90 million ($13.9 million).

In a statement to Reuters, ByteDance said filed the lawsuit to “protect our rights and those of our users”.

Both companies are already under the spotlight of Chinese authorities as part of a crackdown on anti-competitive practices involving pricing and abuse of market dominance proposed by the nation’s State Administration for Market Regulation.