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China starts cracking down on news sourced from social media

worldpaper Updated: Jul 05, 2016, 09:03 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis

BEIJING: China has said online media cannot report any news sourced from social media platforms such as the country’ s Twitter- like platform Weibo and mobile phone app WeChat without verifying the information.

China’s internet regulator is carrying out a campaign against what it calls news based on rumours or fake news, but this new rule could also be seen as tightening control over news on the internet. “It is forbidden to use hear say to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement.

“All levels of the cyberspace administration must earnestly fulfil their management responsibility for internet content, strengthen supervision and investigation, severely probe and handle fake and unfactual news .”

Official news agency Xinhua said: “All websites should bear the key responsibility to further streamline the course of reporting and publishing of news, and setup a sound internal monitoring mechanism among all mobile news portals (and) Weibo or WeChat.”

The CA C directive comes days after Xu Lin, the deputy head of the organisation, replaced his boss, Lu Wei.

Xinhua had reported last year that “Sina Weibo is still the largest petri-dish of online rumours, but rumours on WeChat, the instant messaging service, are more difficult to dispel.”

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