Top internet regulator aims to protect rights of businesses, entrepreneurs
Major websites and online platforms have removed about 86,000 items of false and fake information related to businesses and high-profile figures and closed 8,425 accounts since April, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's top internet regulator.
In April, the CAC launched a three-month nationwide operation targeting false and inaccurate information online that infringes the rights of enterprises and entrepreneurs. Malicious speculation was also targeted during the operation, which aimed to create a better internet environment for the development of enterprises.
Various internet regulatory departments have actively dealt with the illegal information and urged online platforms such as WeChat, Weibo and Douyin to identify and handle items that have negatively impacted enterprises and entrepreneurs, the CAC said.
The administration detailed on Tuesday some of the cases that were investigated during the operation as well as key features of the violations.
One of the major abuses involved online account owners collecting negative information about enterprises and threatening to release it unless the enterprises entered into business with them or provided money, it said.
The account owners promised to delete the negative posts and minimize their impact if the targeted enterprises complied with their demands.
In one case, several social media platforms collected and published negative information related to electric vehicle companies and financial institutions to try and coerce them into doing business.
Internet regulatory departments have closed all the accounts involved and placed the owners on a blacklist.
Making up stories, spreading false information and maliciously hyping negative information about certain enterprises were also major problems unveiled by the operation. Internet regulations require media platforms to strictly manage the content of information, improve their auditing mechanisms and prevent malicious communication of information, the CAC said.
Another ploy involved abusers setting up a social media account using a name or logo that is the same as or similar to a well-known company or entrepreneur.
Introducing false information on such accounts can easily mislead the public and violate the legitimate rights and interests of relevant enterprises and entrepreneurs, it said.
During the operation, internet regulators closed about 2,800 fake accounts pretending to be famous enterprises such as State Power Investment Corporation, China Tobacco and the State Grid Corporation of China.
To attract more subscribers and attention, some online accounts hyped up personal details of entrepreneurs and high-profile figures. The hype related to areas such as their marriage, family members and health issues and seriously violated the personal privacy of the entrepreneurs, according to the CAC.
Internet regulators have asked platform operators to intensify the monitoring and removal of such information. A number of social media accounts involved in these violations were shut down, the administration said.
Online accounts involved in speculation on major events that discredited enterprises and resulted in discrimination, were also punished.