China is tightening its grip on mobile messaging apps
China issued new restrictions on mobile messaging apps earlier today in a move that it describes as an attempt to “help build a clean cyberspace” and safeguard national security. The rules have been issued by China’s State Internet and Information Office, and will only affecr public accounts as opposed to personal accounts.
The rules will require people who new public-account users for mobile messaging apps to register using their real names and acquire permission before they publish or reprint news regarding politics. They must also sign an agreement to “abide by laws and regulations, the socialist system, national interests, the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, public order, social morality and ensure the authenticity of the information they provide.”
The rules are targeted at the 5.8 million public accounts on subscription-based mobile messaging apps in China such as WeChat, and will take effect immediately. This move draws similarities to China’s campaign last year to “clean up” the internet by cracking down on online rumor mongering. The crackdown led to a mass exodus of users from microblogging platforms such as Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, after Chinese authorities detained hundreds of outspoken users of the services.
“A few people are using the platforms to disseminate information related to terrorism, violence and pornography as well as slander and rumors,” said Jiang Jun, spokesman of the State Internet and Information Office. “Such behaviors have raised bitter feelings among netizens.” Jiang continued, saying “Cyberspace cannot become a space full of disorder and hostility. No country in the world allows dissemination of information of rumors, violence, cheating, sex, and terrorism.”
Read more about the story at Bloomberg.