China targets online sites in search of ‘cleaning’ the internet

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China’s cyber regulator said on Thursday that as part of its drive to “clean up” the Internet, China would scrutinize online sites such as social media networks and video-sharing sites to control fake accounts and information.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has said it will launch a two-month special campaign to target fraudulent online behavior, ranging from increasing engagement figures to paying fake fans and reviews.

Authorities are tightening oversight of technology, real estate, gaming, education, cryptocurrencies and finance, and are investigating allegations of widespread repression by regulators in a number of sectors.

The CAC on Wednesday held a video conference attended by its provincial and municipal organizations across the country, according to a report released on its website on Thursday.

“Currently, e-traffic, malicious public relations and money laundering … the conference notes that the legitimate rights and interests of netizens are being harmed, the report said, adding that the CAC’s driver is” cleaning up “the Internet.

This year’s special events are aimed at discussing celebrity interest, child Internet use, and historical events that differ from the official narrative presented by the ruling Communist Party of China.

While the Thursday report did not name any companies or individuals, it said sites that provide reviews of movies and books, short videos and social networking sites would be the focal points of the process.

Douban, an online site where tens of thousands of Chinese users review movies and discuss various social topics, and Weibo, a micro-blogging site, were both fined by the CAC this month for illegal content.

China’s state council released guidelines in September for creating a “civilized” Internet, saying the web should be used to promote education about the ruling Communist Party and its achievements.

© Thompson Reuters 2021


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