China recently announced a crackdown on using social media as a source for news reports, without properly verifying and fact-checking them first, in a report by state media agency Xinhua.
This is a recent move by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which is also reportedly an effort to help combat the release of false news. The announcement prohibits online media on reporting news using social media as a source without proper approval.
"It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts," according to Xinhua, translated by the South China Morning Post. It further stated:
“All websites should bear the key responsibility to further streamline the course of reporting and publishing of news, and set up a sound internal monitoring mechanism among all mobile news portals [and the social media chat websites] Weibo or WeChat."
Moreover, the report stated that a number of websites such as Sina.com, Ifeng.com, Caijing.com.cn, Qq.com and 163.com have been fabricating news and have been punished subsequently. However, it was not clarified what sanctions were given to the aforementioned websites.
China has taken a significant number of steps when it comes to its taking a stand against online services and social media. Back in 2015, China cracked down on the use of VPNs which can be used by many to access websites like Facebook, Twitter, and other similar websites. Shortly after, the country required everyone to use their real names online.