China recently launched a web platform, dedicated to clarifying and battling online rumors. Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping asked to build a bright and clear cyberspace.
The platform (http://www.piyao.org.cn/) encourages netizens to report online rumors. It is also connected with Weibo and WeChat platforms by setting up corresponding accounts. Weibo is the Chinese counterpart of a Twitter like service, while WeChat is a popular Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app.
The official media said that the campaigns to battle rumors are based upon the official news media, which reports the “truth facts.”
An officially released video trailer said that rumors “violate individual freedom, trigger social fears, affect the stock market, and impact the economy.” “The rumors also blaspheme revolutionary heroes.”
China has stepped up judicial punishment for spreading rumors, with the highest penalty being up to seven years in prison. Earlier, the officials warned that, if 5,000 netizens read a rumor and reposted it more than 500 times, there would also be the danger of a jail term.
The platform is a direct subsidiary of the state cyber regulating authority and is connected with the official Xinhua News Agency. It has consolidated more than 40 online similar websites to investigate and suppress rumors more effectively and to search for the source of rumors or manufacturers of false information more effectively.
Source: Radio France International, August 30, 2018