Monday 19 February 2018

China orders microblog operators to tighten censorship

The ruling Communist Party encourages internet and social media use for business and education, but has blocked material deemed to be subversive or unhealthy.

Sina Weibo is the world's biggest microblogging site (AP)
Sina Weibo is the world's biggest microblogging site (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Chinese regulators have tightened control over microblogs, ordering operators to set up a mechanism to remove false information after the most popular service was criticised for allowing prohibited material to spread.

The order adds to new measures imposed by the government of President Xi Jiinping to tighten control over what China’s public can see and say online – while still trying to reap the economic benefits of internet use.

Microblog operators must set up a mechanism to monitor accounts for false information and delete it, under an order by the Cyberspace Administration of China. It said operators must keep a copy of what users post for six months.

The ruling Communist Party encourages internet and social media use for business and education, but has steadily tightened control to block material deemed subversive, pornographic or socially unhealthy.

Last weekend, Sina Weibo was ordered to suspend some services for one week after authorities accused it of allowing material promoting “wrong public opinion orientation”, obscenity and “ethnic discrimination”.

This followed a report that Sina Weibo managers found some celebrities and companies paid marketing firms to make them appear more popular by creating fake accounts to increase their number of online followers.

Sina Weibo said it had 376 million active users as of September. That would make it the world’s most popular microblog service, ahead of Twitter in the United States, which has 330 million.

Press Association

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