Several Chinese firms are being investigated by the country’s internet authorities after claims that their social media services were being used to disseminate illegal content.
Baidu, Sina Weibo and Tencent are all under investigation by the Cyberspace Administration of China for alleged infringements of China’s Internet Security Law, as well as other regulations aimed to preventing the spread of content that the government has termed ‘inappropriate’.
A statement from the authority said that the firms were suspected of enabling the dissemination of material related to “violent terror, false rumours, pornography and other hazards to national security, public safety, social order.”
The material in question is user-generated content sent via Baidu’s microblogging service Baidu Post, Sina Weibo’s similar Twitter-like offering, and Tencent’s WhatsApp-like WeChat platform. These three services are some of the most widely used social networking sites in China.
The CAC said it had informed the firms about the allegations against them, noting that it would “conscientiously implement the Internet Security Law and other laws and regulations, and further increase the internet information content supervision and law enforcement efforts to investigate and deal with all kinds of illegal acts online.”
China brought its Internet Security Law into force in June. Under its terms, service providers must monitor all content generated via their platforms and introduce systems that allow them to determine the source of this content. Any companies that do not comply with these regulations can face fines or total suspension of activities.