Internet platforms required to inspect content to clear out malicious rumors
More than 107,000 online accounts have been shut down in the past month for falsely representing news anchors or press agencies, as part of China's latest efforts to eliminate fake news and rumor-mongering.
Under the requirement of the country's Cyberspace Administration, all internet operators, especially those providing short videos and hot issue rankings, have begun inspecting and clearing out accounts on their platforms that have been alleged to have created or spread fake news since April 6.
A total of 835,000 pieces of fake news were removed during the campaign, in addition to the closure of the accounts, according to data released by the administration on Monday.
The move came after the authority noticed the frequent disturbance of communication in cyberspace and received many relevant complaints from netizens, it said.
"Some accounts were found to pretend to be authoritative news outlets to mislead the public by means of falsifying news studios, imitating newscasters or abusing the use of virtual anchors generated by artificial intelligence," it said.
"Some were discovered making fake news related to hot issues, including those on social incidents, cases or international political affairs, to instigate public emotions or attract online views by cutting, editing or shuffling information," it added.
Since the campaign started, microblogging platform Sina Weibo has posted inspection results every week on its official account. The latest data on May 11 showed that it removed 1,508 pieces of fake news in the first week of May, with punishment of 1,181 accounts and 1,079 users that falsified news anchors or agencies.
Weibo had already opened an official account for exposing those who make or spread various rumors on its platform, as well as for asking relevant authorities to respond to issues that created controversies.
On Monday, a number of typical examples that distorted news or spread misinformation were listed by the administration.
One of the fake news stories targeted Hu Xinyu, a missing student who was later confirmed to have taken his own life in Jiangxi province on Feb 2.The false story said that Hu had been killed by others before the authorized information was announced.
From the time the 15-year-old boy went missing to the time the truth came out, the administration said in mid-February that 1,894 online accounts were punished for making and spreading false information about the case.
In a recent 100-day campaign led by the Ministry of Public Security, more than 70,000 pieces of information and over 2,000 accounts were removed or punished. It disclosed a case in which an internet user surnamed Cao in Jiangxi province was criminally detained for suspicion of making rumors that Hu's body was fake and Hu's family members had been captured.