China has started cracking down on instant messaging apps


When it comes to censorship and control over their information coming in and out of their country, China has never been shy or particularly diplomatic about their choices. Recently China has been reported to be reconsidering the use of IBM servers in their banks and have even banned the installation of Windows 8 on government computers, which is why the country’s latest move hardly comes as a surprise. According to reports, China has begun to target popular instant-messaging smartphone apps. This attempt by the government is to help curb rumors and “infiltration of hostile forces” that are spreading in the country. 

China is targeting popular smartphone-based instant messaging services in a month long campaign to crack down on the spreading of rumors and what it calls infiltration of hostile forces, in the latest move restricting online freedom of expression. Such services incorporate social media functions that allow users to post photos and updates to their friends, or follow the feeds of companies, social groups or celebrities, and — more worryingly for the government — intellectuals, journalists and activists who comment on politics, law and society. They also post news reports shunned by mainstream media. Some accounts attract hundreds of thousands of followers. The official Xinhua News Agency said the crackdown on people spreading rumors and information related to violence, terrorism and pornography started Tuesday and would target public accounts on services including WeChat, run by Tencent Holdings Ltd, which has surged in popularity in the last two years.

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