China Bans News Websites From ‘Fabricating’ Stories

China's internet regulator told publishers to stop posting unverified stories based on social media posts

A woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo. — AFP/Getty Images
Jul 04, 2016 at 8:00 AM ET

China banned news websites from publishing stories based on unverified social media posts in a bid to stop the spread of “hearsay.”

“It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” the Cyberspace Administration of China, a government agency, said on Sunday, The Guardian reported.

The regulator said news websites have to accredit sources for stories based on social media reports, and stated that publishers “are banned from fabricating stories or distorting facts,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

More China Takes Steps To ‘Cleanse’ Comments Sections

“All levels of the cyberspace administration must earnestly fulfill their management responsibility for internet content, strengthen supervision and investigation, severely probe and handle fake and unfactual news,” The Guardian reported the regulator as stating.

Xinhua says the government regulator specifically named several websites that had published false news stories, including Tencent, China’s widely popular internet portal.

Last month, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced it was taking steps to “cleanse” comment sections on news websites, claiming messages that challenge socialism, endanger state security, and show hated for ethic groups are “extremely detested” by the public.