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China deletes 9,800 social media accounts of independent media

The government said the accounts published news that was sensational, vulgar or politically harmful.

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Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
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Accounts on popular messaging tool WeChat and Twitter-like platform Weibo have been purged.

Chinese has erased 9,800 social media accounts tied to independent media.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the accounts violated rules such as "spreading politically harmful information, maliciously falsifying (Chinese Communist) party history, slandering heroes and defaming the nation's image," Reuters reported Monday.

China's social media giants, such as Tencent's WeChat and the Twitter-like platform Weibo, were also warned for failing to prevent "uncivilized growth" and "all kinds of chaos" from independent media on their platforms, according to Reuters. These independent sources aren't state-registered and instead produce original content. Their focus ranges from investigative journalism to celebrity gossip. Many are widely popular because they offer news outside of the official reports.

Some of the accounts did publish fake news and pornography, Reuters reported, but many legitimate accounts were also blocked, some for being too critical of the government.

On Weibo, some users expressed gratitude for the CAC's actions, including the effort to shut down accounts spreading unreliable stories. Others suggested more areas the CAC needs to examine, such as harmful advertisement. However, some users were upset and wanted to know why accounts that didn't spread misinformation were closed.

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