China orders microblog companies to ramp up censorship

China Friday ordered the country’s microblog operators to establish mechanisms to remove false information, in the latest move by authorities to tighten policing of the web. The Cyberspace Administration of China said the Twitter-like microblog platforms have allowed the spread of pornographic, vulgar and fraudulent content.

In addition to making sure to remove such content, companies should also keep a copy of what users post for at least six months, the CAC said in an online statement. “Microblogging service providers shall play an active role in promoting economic development and serving the general public by promoting the core values ​​of socialism,” it said.

The statement did not go into any detail on what any new mechanisms should include. China tightly controls the internet through a censorship system known as the “Great Firewall” and closely monitors social media networks for sensitive content. Regulations in force since 2000 say websites are responsible for “ensuring the legality of any information” posted on their platforms.

China’s leading microblogging website by far, Sina Weibo, already uses automated scans and censorship teams to remove inappropriate content, but has not disclosed how many employees are involved in the work. Last month, popular news aggregation app Jinri Toutiao announced it would hire 2,000 more “content reviewers” after authorities shut it down for 24 hours in December over alleged breaches of regulations.

New regulations that came into force last June require online platforms to get a license to post news reports or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, and social issues.

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