California: China’s popular instant messaging app WeChat has launched a new feature that warns users if a news item circulating on its accounts is false.
The feature will notify users if a piece of news that they have received is deemed fake by Chinese censors, police or official media outlets,. It is one of WeChat’s “mini programmes” launched this year that function only within its platform, which Chinese netizens use for messaging, mobile payments, ordering food, and even renting bicycles.
The programme will also function as a social game, ranking users based on how many rumour-debunking articles they have read. Users will also be notified if a news item they send to their friends is later found to be false. WeChat has more than 900 million active users in China. This week, the company has reportedly shut down number of popular social media accounts including fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar.
According to a report by South China Morning Post, Chinese Cyberspace Administration this week shut down some social media accounts of a number of digital content creators. These accounts were known for celebrity gossip & news, and not for controversial political content.
The Cyberspace Administration claimed the censorship was intended to “proactively promote socialist core values.” China has established this new agency because of a new cybersecurity law that went into effect on June 1.
The report also noted that the Cyberspace Administration also shut down popular photographer Zhuo Wei’s Weibo account. He had 7.11 million followers.