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Appeared on: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
China Camapaigns Against Instant Messaging Services

The Chinese government has started a campaign to eliminate spreading of rumors and what it calls infiltration of hostile forces through popular smartphone-based instant messaging services.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, while such services have become popular online communication channels, some people have used them to distribute "illegal and harmful information, seriously undermining public interests and order in cyberspace," said a statement from the State Internet Information Office (SIIO).

The campaign will target public accounts on instant messaging services, which can spread information on a large scale and mobilize followers, according to the statement.

WeChat has more than 800 million users. Besides private accounts used for communication among friends, family and acquaintances, many public accounts are owned by organizations, companies or individuals for mass communication.

The campaign will crack down on those spreading rumors and information relating to violence, terrorism and pornography, as well as those using instant messaging for fraud.

"We will firmly fight against infiltration from hostile forces at home and abroad," the statement said.

The SIIO, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Public Security will hold service providers responsible if they do not fulfill their duty.

The authorities also encourage the public to provide tip-offs through emails, phone calls or the website net.china.com.cn, the statement added.

Instant messaging companies, including WeChat, Momo, Mi Talk and Yixin, have agreed to cooperate with the Chinese authorities and launch internal inspection, said a statement issued after a meeting among the three government departments and service providers.

Instant messaging companies should work with the government to fight prostitution, fraud and blackmarket on their applications, the announcement said. They should also introduce practice to identify and clear rumors on their applications, it added.



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