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China shuts 200 microblogs for porn, vulgar content
December 9, 2011 / 9:20 AM / 6 years ago

China shuts 200 microblogs for porn, vulgar content

BEIJING, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have shut down 206 microblogs for carrying pornographic and “vulgar” content after receiving tip-offs from the public, state media reported on Friday, as the country increases scrutiny of the massively popular medium.

More than half of the accounts were with Sina Corp’s Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo, the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing a statement from the State Internet Information Office.

“Relevant departments have criticised these sites for their slack management and have warned them to rectify their misconduct,” the statement said.

Microblog providers and Internet portals, it said, must fulfil legal and social obligations and “refuse to be used as a platform to spread obscene material”.

“The State Internet Information Office and other departments will strengthen supervision over microblogs and other technology-based content in accordance with laws and regulations.”

Officials have admitted to facing challenges in creating a “civilised online environment” on social media platforms.

Beijing has also criticised microblogs for irresponsibly spreading what it calls unfounded rumours.

Microblogs allow users to issue bursts of opinion -- a maximum of 140 Chinese characters -- that can course through chains of followers who instantly receive messages. Censors have a hard time monitoring the tens of millions of messages sent every day.

Sina has come under increasing scrutiny, with government officials pressuring the company to better police Weibo, now a powerful medium for spreading news and opinions and venting frustration against government policies.

The ruling Communist Party has vowed to intensify control over online social media and instant messaging tools, but analysts say it is unlikely to shut down what has become an important valve for monitoring and easing social pressures.

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