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China targets online platforms to ‘clean up’ internet


People walk past a Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) office in Beijing, China on July 8, 2021. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

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December 23 (Reuters) – China will examine online platforms such as social media networks and video-sharing sites to crack down on fake accounts and information as part of its drive to “clean up” the Internet, said Thursday the country’s cyber regulator.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has announced that it will launch a special two-month operation to target deceptive online behavior, ranging from increasing engagement numbers to paying fake fans and critics.

The probe comes against the backdrop of a broad crackdown by regulators across multiple sectors, with officials stepping up oversight of companies across tech, real estate, gaming, education, cryptocurrencies and finance.

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The ACC held a video conference on Wednesday attended by its provincial and municipal bodies across the country, according to a statement posted on its website Thursday.

“The conference noted that at present, the fabrication of online traffic, malicious public relations and for-money comments … are detrimental to the legitimate rights and interests of internet users,” the statement said, adding that ‘this was the CAC’s “final battle”. drive “clean” the Internet.

Previous special operations this year have targeted celebrity fans, underage internet use, and also discussions of historical events that differ from the official narrative promoted by the ruling Communist Party of China.

Although Thursday’s statement does not name any companies or individuals, it does indicate that platforms hosting movie and book reviews, short videos and social media would be among the focal points of the operation.

Douban, an online platform where tens of millions of Chinese users criticize movies and discuss various social topics, and the microblogging site Weibo, were both fined by the CAC this month. ci for illegal content.

China’s State Council in September released guidelines for building a “civilized” Internet, saying the Web should be used to promote education about the ruling Communist Party and its achievements.

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Report by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Pravin Char

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