China probes social media platforms for 'obscenity'

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China's Cyberspace Administration said that it is conducting an investigation towards the largest social media platforms in the country including WeChat, Weibo and Baidu Tieba due to an alleged violation of the cyber security laws.

China adopted a series of new cyber security laws earlier this year, most of much took effect in June, that gives the government sweeping powers of the country's almost 750 million daily internet users.

The Cyberspace Administration's investigation is the latest step in China's push to secure the internet and maintain strict Communist Party control over content.

China has applied increasing pressure over Internet media in the run-up to an important Communist Party congress later this year that is expected to consolidate President Xi Jinping's authority.

Such materials "endanger national security, public security and the social order" and are illegal under a cybersecurity law that came into force in June, the agency said.

The administration has received reports from users that illegal content, including pornographic, violent, terrorist and fake information, was being spread on the three platforms, according to a statement published on CAC website.

Baidu said it had deep regret over content that fell into those categories and would cooperate actively with the departments of the government to fix the issues as well as increase its auditing. It didn't specify what actions may be taken, and Tencent, Baidu and Weibo had no immediate comment on the notice.

Shares of Hong Kong-listed Tencent, in which Napers owns 33 percent, fell nearly 5 percent.

Regulators over the past few months have taken unprecedented and severe moves to eliminate content and media on a number of different platforms.

It is targeting WeChat, the immensely popular messaging app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd.,. In May, it released regulations for online news sites and network portals that expanded curbs on content and required all services to be overseen by party-sanctioned editorial staff.

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