Chinese social media vow clean-up after cyber authorities close 10,000 self-media accounts

Chinese social media platforms vowed to remove politically harmful and pornographic content after China’s cyber authorities closed nearly 10,000 self-media accounts in one of its largest internet purification campaigns.

Chinese social media vow clean-up after cyber authorities close 10,000 self-media accounts

WeChat and Weibo vowed on Monday to provide a healthier environment for users by strengthening their efforts to crack down on improper content.

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The notices came after the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on Monday it had removed more than 9,800 social media accounts of independent news providers, also called self-media, in a campaign that aims to create a “positive” and “healthy” cyberspace.

The social media accounts were removed for publishing content that are “harmful to politics, intentionally distorting history, defaming heroes and smearing the national image.” Some also spread rumors and pornographic content, CAC said. 

“The chaos has seriously trampled on the dignity of the law and damaged the interests of the public,” CAC said.

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From now on, the self-media accounts will be managed in accordance with different classifications, and will be under strict supervision, said the CAC.

Wang Sixin, a professor at the Communication University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the “the campaign is not meant to curb freedom of speech, but makes online content lawful.”

Echoing Wang, Shen Yi, head of Fudan University’s Cyberspace Governance Research Institute, told the Global Times that management of self-media accounts will not destroy and strangle the industry. 

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Shen believes that under the regulation, self-media accounts in the future will be entertaining and serve niche professional readers, and also shoulder social responsibility as much as traditional media does.

The CAC summoned WeChat and Weibo and warned them for being irresponsible and negligent. WeChat has a billion active users per month and Weibo has about 400 million. WeChat and Weibo cannot be reached on Tuesday for further comments. 

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