WeChat, Weibo Among Targets in China Cybersecurity Probe

WeChat, Weibo Among Targets in China Cybersecurity Probe

The administration has received reports from users that illegal content, including pornographic, violent, terrorist and fake information, was being spread on the three platforms, according to a statement published on CAC website.

On August 11, while the Chinese public attention is focusing on the powerful natural disaster that struck Sichuan and Xinjiang, China's internet regulator - the Cyberspace Administration of China - announced that it's investigating China's top three internet giants for potentially violating the Cybersecurity Law.

It did not specify what actions may be taken.

Baidu, one of the companies being investigated, said it regretted the facilitation of illegal content on its Tieba platform and explained that it'll "actively cooperate with government departments to rectify the issue and increase the intensity of auditing".

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Many Western publications have said the crackdown is partially owed to the upcoming 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Liu was an author of Charter 08, a document calling for democracy in China, and Beijing aimed to smother that intellectual legacy.

The Cyberspace Administration specified that it is the three giants' social media platforms - Tencent's WeChat (China's biggest messaging app), Sina's Weibo (China's leading online news and social networking service), and Baidu's Tieba ( China's largest BBS-like communication platform) - that are under investigation.

Last month, an immediate rectification and cleaning was requested of all three during a meeting with government authorities, who cited different examples of illicit content that included rumors about officials in the party and misrepresenting the military history of China.

WeChat and Weibo have about 940 million and 350 million monthly active users, respectively. However, the Communist Party is on a campaign to crack down on sites not under its direct control: in May, the Office for Cyberspace Administration announced a new regulation that required all services at online news sites to be overseen by party-sanctioned editorial staff.

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