In what is perhaps one of the biggest crack downs that the Chinese Government has involved itself in on the internet in recent time, country’s top cyber regulator has occluded 9,800 social media accounts of the internet. Independent news providers, who have been alleged of posting sensational, vulgar or politically harmful content on the Internet are the ones targeted, CAC said in a statement.
The accounts blocked mostly include independent news websites or outlets — a-k-a “self media” in China — which produced content that violated country’s internet censorship ground rules. This includes “spreading politically harmful information, maliciously falsifying (Chinese Communist) party history, slandering heroes and defaming the nation’s image.” Self media is a term popularly used in China for news outlets that operate without registering themselves with relevant authorities. These news outlets commonly write about social issues within the country and are hence not registered.
Internet censorship in China isn’t new. In recent past, the country has further tightened its grip on the web. This tightening is a result of growing unrest among people for various social issues within the country, and the Government’s relentless crackdown of the same.
CAC also asked Chinese social media giants, including Tencent’s Wechat and Sina-owned Weibo, warning them against failing to prevent “uncivilized growth” and “all kinds of chaos” among independent media on their platforms.
“The chaos among self-media accounts has seriously trampled on the dignity of the law and damaged the interests of the masses,” CAC said.
These “Self-media” outlets include both — derogatory accounts which posted pornographic and lewd celebrity content as well as outlets which have been critical of Government policies. Social media pundits though, are concerned that while banning the former category of accounts is required, the current crackdown has mostly sweeped accounts which have been critical of the Chinese communist party and the Government.