China's Internet regulator ratcheted up its crackdown on online rumors after a massive explosion in north China's Tianjin.[Special coverage]
In a statement released on late Saturday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) accused 50 websites for creating panic by publishing unverified information or letting users spread groundless rumors.
Rumors circulated on the websites included "the blasts killed at least 1,000 people," "shopping malls in Tianjin got looted" and "leadership change in Tianjin government."
The CAC said such rumors caused negative influences. It shut down and revoked licenses of 18 websites, and suspended operation of another 32 websites.
The CAC said it would take a zero-tolerance attitude towards websites spreading rumors after major disasters.