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China clamps down on government's social media use

China will monitor social media accounts of government departments to promote the "orderly and healthy development" of new media domains and to establish a better connection with the public.

The country's State Council said Dec. 27 that new guidelines have been formulated through which a responsive new media system will be set up by 2022. The task will be led by the official website of China’s central government, gov.cn, comprising accounts and apps on microblogging platform Weibo Corp., Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat and other third-party platforms.

"The government new media should play the role of authoritative platforms to release and interpret information, and convenient platforms to serve and interact with people," the State Council said.

The new rules have placed the responsibility on government agencies to analyze public opinion using big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The State Council said the government will offer more services through mobile apps. Safety management and building a confidentiality system are key focus areas for network security.

China is in the midst of a clampdown on the country's internet players. In November, the Cyberspace Administration erased 9,800 social media accounts of independent news providers who posted "sensational, vulgar or politically harmful content" on the internet.

Weibo, too, had volunteered to remove questionable content and disable sharing functions on its network for those videos and posts.