BEIJING May 27 China will begin a month-long
crackdown on Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s popular WeChat
messaging application, state media reported on Tuesday, the
latest in a series of curbs on online freedom of expression.
WeChat, whose Chinese name means "micromessage", has quickly
become a news source for savvy mobile users in China, where most
traditional news sources are heavily censored.
"Some people are using this platform to disseminate negative
or illegal harmful information to the public, seriously damaging
the internet system and hurting public interest, causing
dissatisfaction among internet users," an unnamed person
responsible for the campaign told the state-owned China News
The crackdown would particularly focus on accounts sending
information with the ability to "communicate (widely) and
mobilize society", the report said. Accounts spreading rumours
and ideas on violence, terrorism, cheating and sex would be
Tencent could not be immediately reached for comment.
Authorities would also seek to weed out domestic and foreign
forces seeking to infiltrate and sabotage China, China News
Authorities shuttered dozens of popular accounts sending out
social or political articles and information in March.
Unlike popular microblogging services such as Sina Corp's
Sina Weibo, where messages can reach millions of people
in minutes, WeChat allows users to communicate in small, private
circles of friends, and send text and voice messages for free -
a big part of its success.
The party renewed a campaign on online discourse last year,
threatening legal action against people whose perceived rumours
on microblogs are reposted more than 500 times or seen by more
than 5,000 people.
(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Nick Macfie)