China erases citizens’ social media accounts in widespread censorship campaign

Following the country's restriction on media outlets, China have exercised their censorship laws eliminating 9,800 social media accounts

In the early hours of the morning, it was reported that China's primary security authority has deleted 9,800 social media accounts due to inappropriate content, reported Reuters.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) made a statement in relation to its campaign launched on 20 October 2018, saying it had erased a massive amount of the increasingly prevalent 'self-media' accounts that emerged in recent months.

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The accounts were erased for "spreading politically harmful information, maliciously falsifying (Chinese Communist) party history, slandering heroes and defaming the nation's image".

The wiped accounts had appeared on two of China's premier social media platforms, WeChat and Weibo. Tencent and Sina, the two companies who own and operate the platforms were also summoned by the CAC and admonished for failing to prevent "uncivilized growth" and causing "all kinds of chaos".

The term 'self-media' is used to refer to social media channels, much like ones found on Snapchat's stories, posing as genuine media outlets. The channels produce original content which spans a breadth of topics but aren't officially registered with authorities.

The prevalence and popularity of these accounts have been largely attributed to the interesting and sometimes sensational content that they churn out, which comes as a breath of fresh air from the state-regulated official sources which like to keep content produced in Chinese cyberspace in-line with communist party ideals.

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Despite freedom of expression being codified in China's constitution, the one-party state does allow some leniency but keeps a strict limit on the extent to which the party can be criticised.

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