Several of China’s leading social media platforms have been compelled by authorities to issue public statements on the dissemination of financial news in breach of regulations, as well as commit to prompt rectification measures.
WeChat, Douyin and Weibo all issued public statements on 28 August declaring that they would engage in “specialist rectification and purification of the Internet environment,” targeting behaviour including the “release of economic and financial news in breach of regulations and the distorted interpretation of economic policy.”
Other behaviour that will be targeted includes the “short singing and doom singing of financial markets,” serving as “black mouths” to attract attention from readers; the fabrication and spreading of rumours and intimidation or blackmail activity.
Douyin said that starting from 28 August it would “undertake specialist rectification activities,” focusing on a total of eight areas including:
- Absurd criticisms and discussions. Distorted interpretation of economic and financial policy and macro-economic data. Malicious “short singing” of financial markets and “doom singing” of the Chinese economy.
- The re-reporting of reports and commentary from abroad that misinterpret key economic and financial issues without providing a perspective or additional judgment.
- The dissemination of “gossip” to create media buzz, using titles such as “exclusive report,” “insider sources say” and “secrets revealed,” and even the fabrication and dissemination of rumours.
- Malicious distortion, editing or quoting of economic and financial news information that is originally in compliance with regulations.
- Acting as financial “black mouths” that maliciously “short sing” or drive up stock prices, or drive regional real estate volatility, disrupting the regular market order.
- Spinning up negative information in order to threaten interested parties, engage in blackmail and seek illegal profits.
- Spinning up negative social incidents and negative extreme events, to fan negative sentiment and a mood of anxiety and panic, in order to drive sales of “commercial classes” and various types of insurance products.
- Failure to strictly perform identification confirmation procedures, and operating financial columns or social media accounts that misuse the titles of personnel from financial regulatory departments or specialist experts.
WeChat said that starting from 26 October its platform would “engage in rectification of the non-compliant editing and release of economic and financial information, and purification of the Internet environment.”
WeChat also said that it would “uphold correct values and pragmatically and effectively perform its duties as a platform,” as well as “strictly investigate and shutdown social media accounts that serve as ‘black mouths’ and engage in blackmail as soon as they are discovered.”
“We recommend that accounts promptly engage in self-inspection to avoid subsequent releases causing inconvenience, and request that authors produce more high-quality content in their areas of expertise, and no longer issue or republish the aforementioned forms of non-compliant content and information.”
Weibo said that it would commence its rectification campaign against non-compliant economic and financial information on 28 August, and that this would include “strictly striking against non-compliant economic and financial content, strictly and heavily handling non-compliant accounts, and promptly notifying the public of non-compliant accounts that have been disposed of.”