China investigates domestic social media sites in attempt to police content

WeChat, Weibo Among Targets in China Cybersecurity Probe

On August 11, while the Chinese public attention is focusing on the powerful natural disaster that struck Sichuan and Xinjiang, China's internet regulator - the Cyberspace Administration of China - announced that it's investigating China's top three internet giants for potentially violating the Cybersecurity Law.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said yesterday it instructed its Beijing and Guangdong branches to look into reports that some of the country's largest online services are carrying user-generated content laden with "violence, porn, rumours" disruptive to social order.

In response, Baidu reportedly expressed regret and said that it would be willing to actively cooperate with the government to settle the issue.

Cyber surveillance is being tightened further ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China expected to be held later this year, when global attention will be on news coming from the world's second-biggest economy. Tencent and Weibo did not respond to requests for comment.

It is targeting WeChat, the immensely popular messaging app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd.,. Liu was an author of Charter 08, a document calling for democracy in China, and Beijing aimed to smother that intellectual legacy.

The three companies were asked by authorities to clean up content on their platforms; the officials cited examples of illicit content, including rumours (which are illegal to spread in China) about Communist Party officials and misrepresenting the history of the Chinese military.

WeChat and Weibo have about 940 million and 350 million monthly active users, respectively.

Chinese Internet authorities have opened cases to investigate three social media platforms - Tencent's Wechat, Sina Weibo and Baidu Tieba, for not stopping the circulation of illegal online content, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said Friday.

Regulators over the past few months have taken unprecedented and severe moves to eliminate content and media on a number of different platforms.

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