China Plans Crackdown on Social Media 'Fake News'; Tencent Shares Tumble

Ivan Schwartz
August 11, 2017

The Cyberspace Administration said it was investigating Tencent Holdings' WeChat, Weibo and Baidu's forum site Tieba over suspected violations of the country's strict cyber-security laws.

11 de agosto de 2017, 10:08Beijing, Aug. 11 (Prensa Latina) China is now probing into its three largest social media platforms for hosting illegal content, endangering national security, the China Cyberspace Administration (ACCh) said on Friday.

China has put increasing pressure on internet media in the run-up to an important Communist Party congress later this year that is expected to consolidate President Xi Jinping's authority.

"Users [of the social media] spread rumors, pornographic content, calls for terrorism and violence and other data that violate the social order and pose a threat to the national and social security", the statement says, adding that the companies managing the networks failed to block offensive content from their platforms, including some which insulted China's Communist Party.

Baidu said it felt "deep regret" over the content and will "actively co-operate with government departments to rectify the issue and increase the intensity of auditing".

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Shares of Hong Kong-listed Tencent, in which Napers owns 33 percent, fell nearly 5 percent.

In recent months, regulators have taken severe and unprecedented moves to shutter content and media across a variety of platforms.

The platforms specifically targeted in this investigation include Tencent's mobile messaging and SNS app WeChat, the Weibo microblog platform, and Baidu's bulletin board and communication platform Baidu Post Bar.

Last month, Beijing scrubbed memorial photos of Liu Xiaobo from WeChat and Weibo, following the long-imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize-winning writer's death in mid-July.

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