China’s cyberspace regulator said 1.4 million social media posts were removed after a two-month investigation into alleged disinformation, illegal profiteering and impersonation of government officials, among other “obvious problems”.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on Friday that it shut down 67,000 social media accounts and deleted hundreds of thousands of posts between March 10 and May 22 as part of a wider “correction” campaign.
Since 2021, China has targeted billions of social media accounts in an attempt to “clean up” its cyberspace and make it easier for authorities to control.
The latest crackdown targets accounts on popular Chinese social media apps, including WeChat, Douyin and Weibo, which fall under the “self-media” category. The term broadly refers to accounts that disseminate news and information but are not managed by a government or state. – sanctioned. .
Beijing often suspends the accounts of citizens and observers for publishing or sharing sensitive or critical facts about the Communist Party, government or military, especially when such information is widely disseminated.
According to the CAC, of the 67,000 permanently closed accounts, nearly 8,000 were removed “for spreading false news, rumours, and harmful information.”
About 930,000 other accounts received lesser penalties, from removing all followers to suspending or revoking monetization rights.
In a separate crackdown, the regulator recently shut down more than 100,000 accounts allegedly impersonating news broadcasters and media agencies to prevent the spread of fake news online using artificial intelligence technology.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee said Friday that its latest campaign targeted nearly 13,000 fake military accounts with the names “Chinese Red Army Command,” “Chinese Anti-Terrorism Force” and “Strategic Missile Forces.”
About 25,000 other accounts were targeted for appearances by public institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and government-run research facilities.
Nearly 187,000 have been penalized for impersonating news media companies, and more than 430,000 are alleged to have offered career advice or training services without proper professional qualifications.
About 45,000 accounts have been closed for “inflating hot issues, influence time, and illegal monetization.”
The regulator said it had “actively coordinated with public security, market surveillance and other departments to remediate the strong strike and illegal ‘personal data'”.
He added: “At the same time, (we) also call on the majority of the Internet to actively participate in monitoring and reporting (illegal ‘self-information’), providing evidence… and together maintaining a clean cyberspace.”