China beefs up censorship of instant messaging apps

Summary:Under more stringent censorship, WeChat promises to stop "rumors" from spreading on its instant messaging platform.

The Chinese National Internet Information Office released a new set of rules on August 7 restricting the distribution of information to the public through instant messaging apps.

According to the new regulation, only government mouthpieces and authorised institutions are allowed to publish news on current affairs through their verified accounts.

Meanwhile, it demanded new users register accounts with their real personal identifications, and sign an agreement promising to abide by the so-called “seven bottom lines”, namely, promising to uphold the rule of law, socialism, the national interest, people rights, public orders, social moralities, and the authenticity of information.

WeChat, the most popular instant messenger app in China, welcomed the government’s dictat, while the app's developer Tencent.com applauded the censorship.

In a statement, the company said it has resolutely fought the spread of “rumors” on WeChat, and it pledged to stop information spreading among the public that had been identified as untrue either by the authority or the company itself.

According to a NetEase report out on Thursday, WeChat had launched its initial crackdown, deleting nearly 1,000 articles and banning more than 400 accounts.

Topics: China, Apps, Censorship

About

Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor.He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Severn News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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