Several Chinese social media platforms including Weibo, WeChat, and Baidu’s Tieba are now under investigation by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) for violating the country’s cyber-security laws which ban violent and obscene content. The Administration said that it expects the companies to clean up the content on their platforms.
Regarding the investigation, the CAC said:
“Users are spreading violence, terror, false rumours, pornography and other hazard to national security, public safety and social order.”
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.”
The three companies were asked by authorities to clean up content on their platforms; the officials cited examples of illicit content, including rumours (which are illegal to spread in China) about Communist Party officials and misrepresenting the history of the Chinese military.
WeChat and Weibo are wildly popular in the country with 940 million and 350 million users respectively; to put WeChat’s user base into context, WhatsApp has 1.3 billion users worldwide whereas WeChat has 940 million users that are largely based in China alone.