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China ‘internet police’ patrol for harmful content

China has officially launched 50 social media accounts run by internet police to target illegal and harmful online information. 

The 50 social media accounts were launched on popular microblog site Weibo, mobile messaging app WeChat, and Baidu’s online community Tieba, covering 13 provinces and 37 cities.

Cyber crimes and fraud are growing rapidly along with the infiltration of new media channels such as Weibo and Wechat, said the Ministry of Public Security.

Internet police officers will be on 24-hour “patrol” to spot fraudulent, harmful, pornographic, and terrorism information on these platforms. Internet users found to be spreading such information will be immediately warned or punished, according to the ministry.

Internet police are stepping out of the curtains to the front stage to regulate the Internet more effectively, the ministry said, adding that the new Internet policing model will be expanded across the country. Whistleblowers are encouraged to send tips to the Internet police.

Sina Corp’s Weibo and Tencent’s WeChat have been major targets of a government censorship campaign, with dozens of influential users being arrested and accounts shut down. The Cyberspace Administration of China said in April that it would shut down Sina Corp.’s news portal if it fails to strengthen censorship of harmful content.

Sources: Reuters, Beijing Times (京华时报)


Hui Zhi is the Senior Manager for Content with the China Compliance Digest, where a version of this post first appeared.