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China investigates Internet giants for illegal online content

13 August 2017, 05:02 | Marlene Myers

China investigates Internet giants for illegal online content

Tencent WeChat Sina Weibo and Baidu Tieba are three of the most popular websites in China

In the Communist Party's latest push to maintain control of the internet inside China's borders, the Office for Cyberspace Administration is investigating Weibo, Baidu Tieba and WeChat.

President Xi Jinping has made China's "cyber sovereignty" a top priority and has also reasserted the ruling party's role in limiting and guiding online discussion.

Several Chinese social media platforms including Weibo, WeChat, and Baidu's Tieba are now under investigation by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) for violating the country's cyber-security laws which ban violent and obscene content.

Such materials "endanger national security, public security and the social order" and are illegal under a cybersecurity law that came into force in June, the agency said.

Baidu said it had deep regret over content that fell into those categories and would cooperate actively with the departments of the government to fix the issues as well as increase its auditing.

China's regulations for suppressing the spread of censored contents will further assist officials to gain complete dominance over communication; hence, the researchers and new visitors to China are likely to face troublesome consequences without proper internet connection.

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Paul Chakaduka, a trader at GT247, said investors were waiting to see what steps the Chinese authorities would take.

Tencent, which owns Weibo and WeChat, has not released any comment yet regarding this report.

Last month, an immediate rectification and cleaning was requested of all three during a meeting with government authorities, who cited different examples of illicit content that included rumors about officials in the party and misrepresenting the military history of China.

Prior to the meeting, Weibo was ordered to partially close its video site over violations, wiping out a combined $1.3 billion worth of stock between Weibo and parent firm Sina Corp.

It is targeting WeChat, the immensely popular messaging app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd.,.



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