• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 5:58pm
NewsChina
CENSORSHIP

China regulates original news feeds on messenger apps such as WeChat

In latest crackdown on online content, only authorised groups can post original news

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 4:55am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 4:55am
 

The latest internet crackdown on the mainland means that only news agencies and websites are now authorised to publish original news content on public accounts on China's hugely popular WeChat. It is a platform with more than 5.8 million content providers, many claiming millions of subscribers.

Public accounts run by non-news agencies are allowed only to repost news, and only after they acquire a permit from the State Internet Information Office, according to a government announcement yesterday.

The SIIO's new measures came as public accounts on instant messaging services become a primary source of news and information for many.

The new regulations also called on party branches at all levels and state-run enterprises to launch public accounts to "service economic and social needs and satisfy the public".

The new rules, which became effective yesterday, apply to all instant messaging services including QQ and Momo. But experts believe the major target is WeChat, the most popular app on the mainland. WeChat had 396 million monthly active users in the first quarter of this year.

Xin Haiguang, a Beijing-based columnist who owns several public WeChat accounts, including one that shares political news, said he might have to change his content.

"I believe my public accounts will be severely affected," he said. His accounts total more than 100,000 followers. "I think the government should leave some room for the public to criticise and speak up on political issues."

If the rules were enforced strictly, many of the accounts would have to shut down, said Lei Ming, who runs a technology account with over 50,000 followers.

Wang Guanxiong, current affairs commentator and owner of a public WeChat account that has about 130,000 followers, said the government was regulating WeChat public accounts like it did with microblog platform Weibo.

"The rules are aimed at supporting government-backed media companies, while discouraging individual publishers, some of whom have gained much social influence," he said.

WeChat operator Tencent did not respond to requests for comment. It said on its own WeChat account that it agreed with the regulator's goal of quashing rumours. Tencent's share price dropped to HK$128.30 at yesterday's close, down 3.46 per cent.

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This article is now closed to comments

53e7947c-4590-4bbe-ae4e-52b90a3209cb
I cannot understand why the "Peoples Republic" of China is so afraid of letting it's own citizens talk freely about their political concerns. This is like blocking a safety valve - so much pressure build up that it causes major explosion. There is obviously increasing trouble in Xinjiang where Uighur people are repressed. If China carries on like this there will soon be trouble all over the country. China cannot have it both ways, if it wants to remain open to the rest of the world then the spread of democratic ideas in China is inevitable. The Chinese government needs to accept this and start peaceful well-planned change now. If it doesn't then change will come anyway. Unfortunately it will neither be peaceful or well-planned.
ejmciii
No surprises there. How can you have a proper propaganda wall if other non-communist thought is published and seen by the public. The public in China are too silly to understand that these non-communist thoughts are evil and must be crushed. These guys get funnier and funnier each day.
tubbataha
So now all 'news' in China is a state secret and can only be communicated by official channels.
A return to the 'Shut up and listen to the old men' policy ?
 
 
 
 
 

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