China conducts cyberspace clean-up campaign targeting ‘self-media’ accounts

In a two-month investigation, 1.4 million social media posts were deleted, and 67,000 social media accounts were closed between 10 March and 22 May.

China Flag on the table

China’s cyberspace regulator has deleted 1.4 million social media posts as a result of a two-month investigation into various issues, including spreading misinformation, illegal profiteering, and impersonation of government officials. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) closed down 67,000 social media accounts and removed hundreds of thousands of posts between 10 March and 22 May as part of a larger effort to rectify the situation. 

China has been targeting numerous social media accounts since 2021 in an attempt to clean its cyberspace and enhance control. The recent crackdown focused on popular Chinese social media apps like WeChat, Douyin, and Weibo, specifically targeting ‘self-media’ accounts that publish news and information independently.

The CAC permanently closed nearly 8,000 accounts for spreading fake news, rumours, and harmful information, while around 930,000 accounts faced less severe punishments. Additionally, the regulator closed over 100,000 accounts that supposedly misrepresented news anchors and media agencies to combat the spread of AI-generated fake news. 

The CAC’s campaign also targeted counterfeit military accounts, impersonations of public institutions, impersonations of news media businesses, unqualified professional advice providers, and those engaging in hype, clout-chasing, and illegal monetisation. The regulator has called on citizens to actively monitor and report illegal ‘self-media’ to maintain a clean cyberspace.