In­ter­net giants in­ves­ti­gated over con­tent

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­

Three Chi­nese in­ter­net giants — Ten­cent, Baidu and Sina — are un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for fail­ing to reg­u­late con­tent such as posts that are vi­o­lent, fake or porno­graphic on their on­line sites, the coun­try’s top cy­berspace watch­dog an­nounced on Fri­day.

Pub­lic tips have alerted reg­u­la­tors to con­tent posted by some users of Ten­cent WeChat, China’s most pop­u­lar in­stant mes­sag­ing tool; Sina Weibo, a Twit­ter-like ser­vice; and Baidu Tieba, a pop­u­lar on­line fo­rum. Some of the con­tent, in­clud­ing posts that are ter­ror­ism-re­lated, harms na­tional se­cu­rity and pub­lic or­der, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment by the Cy­berspace Ad­min­is­tra­tion of China.

Cy­berspace reg­u­la­tors in Bei­jing, where the head­quar­ters of Baidu and Sina are lo­cated, and reg­u­la­tors in Guang­dong, which has ju­ris­dic­tion over Ten­cent, have filed an of­fi­cial probe of the three plat­forms for pos­si­ble breaches of the Cy­ber­se­cu­rity Law and fail­ure to pre­vent such in­for­ma­tion from be­ing re­leased, the state­ment said.

The na­tional watch­dog did not re­lease de­tails of the ac­cu­sa­tion, but said its lo­cal bu­reaus in Bei­jing and Guang­dong will brief the pub­lic in a timely fash­ion on de­vel­op­ment of the case.

All three com­pa­nies re­sponded on Fri­day, say­ing they would co­op­er­ate with gov­ern­men­tal de­part­ments in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and strictly su­per­vise their plat­forms.

“We apol­o­gize for our prob­lem­atic in­for­ma­tion on­line,” Sina Weibo said in a state­ment. “We’ll fur­ther fight ru­mors, ter­ror­ist-re­lated in­for­ma­tion and pornog­ra­phy by im­prov­ing our tech­nolo­gies, prod­ucts and ser­vices,” it said.

Sina Weibo said it wel­comes ne­ti­zens’ re­ports and wants to keep the on­line en­vi­ron­ment clean.

Baidu said it has de­voted much la­bor and tech­nol­ogy to su­per­vise its on­line fo­rum, “but there is still some con­tent that we missed or where we failed to find the prob­lems, for which we should apol­o­gize”.

Ten­cent con­firmed it had re­ceived the no­tice from the pro­vin­cial cy­berspace depart­ment, say­ing its WeChat team pri­or­i­tizes the fight against ru­mors, ter­ror­ism and pornog­ra­phy.

The com­pany also called on WeChat users to obey the law and rules, and join hands to stop il­le­gal in­for­ma­tion.

Liu Deliang, a law pro­fes­sor at Bei­jing Nor­mal Univer­sity, said in­ter­net en­ter­prises should in­crease self-dis­ci­pline, in ad­di­tion to the county’s ef­forts to fight il­le­gal in­for­ma­tion.

“If they find prob­lem­atic con­tent or re­ceive re­ports about it, the web­site op­er­a­tors should give a quicker re­sponse and han­dle it in a timely man­ner,” he said.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion on Fri­day en­cour­aged the pub­lic to re­port pos­si­ble in­ter­net vi­o­la­tions through the 12377 hot­line or send emails to

The China In­ter­net Il­le­gal In­for­ma­tion Re­port­ing Cen­ter un­der the ad­min­is­tra­tion said it got 3.67 mil­lion com­plaints about pos­si­ble prob­lem­atic in­for­ma­tion in June, up 42.2 per­cent year-on-year.

In the same pe­riod, ma­jor com­mer­cial web­sites, in­clud­ing Baidu, Ten­cent and Sina, re­ceived a to­tal of 2.03 mil­lion com­plaints via their re­port­ing chan­nels, of which 1.96 mil­lion were sent to law en­force­ment de­part­ments to han­dle, ac­cord­ing to the cen­ter.

He Wei in Shang­hai and Fan Feifei in Bei­jing con­trib­uted to this story.

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