Recently we’ve seen a couple stories about police cracking down on Sina Weibo rumor-spreaders. But Weibo isn’t the only platform you can spread rumors on, and Tencent’s uber-popular mobile chat app WeChat is apparently being watched by the police, too. In an Oriental Daily report, a representative of China’s internet police told reporters that spreading rumors on WeChat is also a crime:
Ding Renren [the police spokesman] said that WeChat is also a public space on the internet, and although the audience is a more limited group [than the audience on Weibo], if you spread rumors or false information that you haven’t verified in a public space, that is illegal.
Apparently, that even includes passing rumors around to your friend circles on WeChat, so be careful.
As a side note, as is typical for news stories about the government attempting to control speech, many of the reader comments are angry and a few are hilarious. Several readers asked whether “rumor-mongers” like CCTV and the People’s Daily (state media outlets with a reputation for being extremely biased) would also be punished for bending the truth. “Restaurants are also public places,” wrote another commenter, “in the future will we still talk while we’re eating?”
Still another sarcastically reflected: “It’s not too bad; at least they haven’t cut our tongues out.”
(Oriental Daily via TechWeb)