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China to Purge Online Accounts That ‘Bad-Mouth’ Financial Markets

Top social media platforms said on Saturday they would enforce a govt order to deal with accounts that publish financial news illegally, or distort policies, ‘bad mouth’ markets, and spread rumours


Overseas users of WeChat have been notified that their comments are being stored in China, a new report says.
OWeChat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration. Photo: Reuters.

China’s top social media platforms said on Saturday they would start a purge of online accounts that publish false financial information, reported the state-run Global Times.

Announcements by platforms including Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou followed an announcement by the Cyberspace Administration of China that it would investigate so-called ”self-media” accounts that repeatedly release financial news illegally, distort economic policy interpretation, bad-mouth financial markets, spread rumours and disrupt network communications.

The term “self-media” is mostly used to describe independently operated accounts on social media that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

Wechat said in a statement on Saturday that from now until Oct. 26 it would investigate and shut down financial self-media accounts that “bad-mouth the financial market” and “blackmail and spread rumors.”

Sina Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou also released similar statements on Saturday, reported the Global Times, with Sina Weibo and Kuaishou adding that they would severely crack down on accounts that violate the rules.

The announcements come amid a recent crackdown by Beijing on the tech sector, with the latest regulations targeting “chaotic” celebrity fan culture and algorithms that technology companies use to drive their business.

China is also framing rules to ban internet companies whose data poses potential security risks from listing outside the country, including in the United States.

• Reuters and Jim Pollard

 

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This story was updated with a new headline and other changes.

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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