Home > News > Regional
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday March 15, 2014 MYT 7:49:20 AM
SHANGHAI: Chinese Internet giant Tencent has shut several accounts on its popular instant messaging platform WeChat, users said on Friday, in what appeared to be part of a broader government crackdown on political content.
WeChat, known as weixin or micro-message in Chinese, has more than 300 million users in China and overseas, allowing them to send text, photos, videos and voice messages over mobile devices.
Accounts shut down included one for “Union of Elephants” which specialised in irreverent takes on current affairs, and “Consensus Net” which featured articles on topics such as democracy.
Chinese authorities maintain a huge surveillance network, including online, where the so-called Great Firewall of China blocks access to sites deemed sensitive and a vast censorship machine deletes content considered objectionable.
The accounts were suspended on Thursday without prior notice or follow-up explanation from Tencent, he said.
Tencent, owner of WeChat, could not be reached for comment on Friday. But a Tencent official said late Thursday that messages that violated Chinese law faced a crackdown.
“To guarantee user experience ... the release of pornographic, violent, rumour-spreading information, and other types of information which violate laws, regulations and relevant policies are strictly prohibited,” Marsh Zhang, a publicity director at Tencent, said in a posting on his personal microblog.
“As soon as they are discovered, we will severely crack down and deal with them.”
He made no specific reference to accounts being closed.
Other affected accounts included those of Luo Changping, who blew the whistle on a corrupt government official, and a journalist and columnist Xu Danei, who also writes for the Chinese website of Britain’s Financial Times newspaper and domestic outlets.
Some pointed out online that the closures came on the final day of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, or legislature, while others linked them to rumours about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which had 153 Chinese passengers on board.
The crackdown mirrors similar action against another popular form of social media in China, microblogs or weibo, equivalents of Twitter
After the move, Tencent’s Hong Kong-listed shares closed down just over 4% on Friday. — AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Selection headache for Dollah ahead of World Cup qualifiers
Ramadan and Hafiz racing to be fit for World Hockey League
Eain Yow skips local meet for training stint in England
Hospitals overwhelmed as death toll rises
Beijing braces for toughest anti-smoking measures yet
Pakistani CEO held for allegedly promoting bogus universities
Indian boy, 5, beheaded in suspected child sacrifice
US army says 22 possibly exposed to anthrax at S. Korea base
Dalai Lama: Help the Rohingya
Hospitals overwhelmed as India heatwave deaths near 1,500
Have a 'whale' of a good time in Queensland
The British Museum uses Periscope to offer a live-streamed tour
Restful repose in a capsule
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)