China is renewing their crusade on internet rumors, officially banning online sites from citing social media as a news source.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released a statement late on Sunday stating that it is “forbidden” to use social media as a source for online news without direct approval from the government.
“All websites should bear the key responsibility to further streamline the course of reporting and publishing of news,” the statement said, “and set up a sound internal monitoring mechanism among all mobile news portals Weibo or WeChat [China’s top two social media sites].”
It’s not the first time the CAC has sought to crack down on the dissemination of “rumors” through social media. The latest degree renews the regulator’s authority and signals a potential crackdown.
China’s Tightening Grip On Internet Content
The announcement comes just days after China appointed a new head of the CAC, which is the country’s top cyberspace regulatory body. Outgoing head Lu Wei will be replaced by deputy Xu Lin, who previously served as the head of Shanghai’s propaganda department.
China has long exercised tough restrictions over internet content, which includes bans on popular western media sites such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. A handful of the country’s internet regulatory bodies recently banded together in an effort to purge the country’s internet of content considered unsavory or illegal by the government. As a result, almost a dozen of the country’s top file-sharing services were eliminated, including those backed by heavyweights Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Huawei.
China has also tightened the reigns on foreign content in the country. In April regulators banned Apple’s newly-launched iBooks and iTunes Movies services. In the same month a partnership between Alibaba and Disney to stream content was similarly halted by regulators.