China to Cleanse Online Content That ‘Bad-Mouths’ Its Economy

(Bloomberg) —

China kicked off a two-month campaign to crack down on commercial platforms and social media accounts that post finance-related information that’s deemed harmful to its economy.

The initiative will focus on rectifying violations including those that “maliciously” bad-mouth China’s financial markets and falsely interpret domestic policies and economic data, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement late Friday. Those who republish foreign media reports or commentaries that falsely interpret domestic financial topics “without taking a stance or making a judgment” will also be targeted, it added.

The move is aimed at cultivating a “benign” online environment for public opinion that can facilitate “sustainable and healthy development” of China’s economy and its society, according to the statement. It followed a draft proposal issued earlier Friday by the cyberspace regulator to regulate algorithms that technology firms use to recommend videos and other content.

Commercial websites and platforms will be ordered to clean up financial information posts and shut accounts deemed in violation, under the supervision of authorities including the cyberspace administrator, the finance ministry, central bank as well as securities, banking and insurance regulators.

Technology firms and social media operators including Tencent Holdings Ltd. and ByteDance Ltd.’s news aggregator Toutiao and Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, pledged to abide by the rules and regulate financial information-related content.

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Harry Byrne

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