(The AEGIS Alliance) – 9,800 independent news providing social media accounts in China were purged and deleted due to being deemed to have been posting vulgar, sensational, or politically harmful content online, according to cyber authorities in China on Monday. This comes after Facebook purged US based independent media from its platform.
China has strict censorship when it comes to the internet. The online censorship has tightened during recent years. This censorship includes new legislation that restricts media outlets, also surveillance policies for media websites. There are active campaigns that remove content they deem is unacceptable.
(CAC) or The Cyberspace Administration of China made a statement that such a campaign had launched on October 20th, and erased violator accounts which includes one that were:
“spreading politically harmful information, maliciously falsifying (Chinese Communist) party history, slandering heroes and defaming the nation’s image.”
CAC also connected with large social media companies that include Wechat owned by Tencent, and Weibo owned by Sina, and warned them about their failure in preventing “all kinds of chaos” and “uncivilized growth” regarding independent media on their social platforms.
“The chaos among self-media accounts has seriously trampled on the dignity of the law and damaged the interests of the masses,” said CAC in a statement.
“self-media” is the term mainly used for describing independent media news account on Chinese social media that are producing original content, but are also not registered officially with Chinese authorities.
These self-media accounts have widely increased in recent years and have been ranging anywhere from celebrity gossip and lewd content, to intense investigative journalism. Lots of them are very popular because they offer more sensational and novel forms of news than officially recognized sources.
It has been noted by online commentators that some of the closed accounts were sharing pornographic content or false news, which are both illegal in China. The commentators also said that some of the targeted accounts during this most recent sweep appeared to have merely been too critical.
A user on Weibo was questioning why a blog named “youshuguang” had been blocked, since it was for art and entertainment.
“The one I really don’t get is youshuguang, who made no sign of violations and wrote emotive content in a well-behaved manner. Why were they still blocked?” wrote the user on Weibo.
“You get blocked if you write the truth, get blocked if you write lies, so what are we now supposed to say?” the user mentioned.
A popular article producing group named NGOCN that published content about social issues in China also saw two account get deleted, but pledges in a statement that they will continue to produce their content.
“This is an era of accounts being obliterated,” said the group. “It went from a single article being blocked, to the censorship of some prohibited speech… then today all of a sudden, we have no account.”
The Social Media Bandwagon Featured Image Credit: CC/Flickr/Matt Hamm
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.