Global Times Mobile

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Local Internet regulators in Beijing and South China's Guangdong Province have launched investigations into three popular social networks for suspected violations of China's Cybersecurity Law, according to a Friday statement released by China's Internet watchdog.

Based on Net users' reports as well as preliminary surveys, WeChat, Sina Weibo and Baidu Tieba were found to have contained rumors and violent and obscene information that have harmed national security, public safety and social order, read the Friday statement.

According to the statement, the three online platforms are suspected of violating laws and regulations, including the Cybersecurity Law, and they have failed to fulfill their responsibility of censoring illegal information posted by their users.

A representative of the Cyberspace Administration of China also noted that it will further strengthen its supervision of Internet content, and it welcomes assistance from netizens, according to the statement.

The three social network platforms said on Friday that they would coordinate in the investigations.

WeChat on Friday released a post saying that it had taken a series of measures to fight against illegal information on its platform, and if such information is found, it will be forcefully removed.

Sina Weibo said that it would coordinate in the investigations and actively rectify its problems. It would also enhance its detection of unhealthy content by carrying out continuous innovation of its products and technologies.

Baidu Tieba said that it had put a lot of manpower and resources into dealing with unlawful information, but still some posts have slipped through the supervisory net, and it was sorry for the trouble this has caused to users.

A user of Baidu Tieba in Beijing told the Global Times on Friday that the government should strengthen management of the platform. 

"I once read a recommended post on the Baidu Tieba app about a man secretly filming a high school girl, and the post had thousands of comments telling the man how to assault the girl. It made me really angry," said the user, who asked not to be identified.

Another Shanghai-based resident, who frequently reads posts on Baidu Tieba, especially in the sports forums, said that there used to be a lot of obscene comments, but this has dissipated a lot in recent months as supervision has been strengthened.

Zhu Wei, associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Friday that unhealthy content on social media decreased significantly after the country implemented the Cybersecurity Law in June.

"But the removal [of illegal content] is not quick enough, and there is still bad information that has not been dealt with," Zhu said.

He added that the government should speed up implementing the real-name system for the Internet and establish a more efficient supervision mechanism, such as using artificial intelligence to this end.