Chinese internet platforms must curb online rumours, guard ‘fields of responsibility’

The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing, China April 29, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

SHANGHAI, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Chinese internet platforms must crack down on the spread of online rumours and guard their “fields of responsibility”, state media outlet the People’s Daily wrote in a commentary published Thursday.

The comments come amid an ongoing regulatory tightening on technology companies.

The piece’s author, Zhang Tianpei, argued that curbing online rumours was especially important in the current period of preventing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the coronavirus persists, “Internet rumours are even more harmful, and must be attacked strictly in accordance with the law, in order to ensure healthy operation of the internet.”

“To build a good network, multiple parties such as law enforcement agencies, functional authorities, and internet platform companies need to act and work together.”

The comments come as Chinese authorities steadily release new regulations and penalties addressing the tech sector.

On Tuesday, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation released a sweeping set of draft rules banning practices such as fake reviews, aimed at improving fair competition online. read more

Later, on Wednesday, China’s commerce ministry published guidelines urging video livestreamers to speak Mandarin rather than local dialects, and dress in a way that is inoffensive to their audience. read more

Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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