Man held over rumors on WeChat

Updated: 2014-08-13 07:40


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Police have detained a man suspected of breaking new regulations on instant messaging services by spreading rumors on WeChat, a popular messaging platform.

The man, surnamed Wang, managed a WeChat public account that published unconfirmed reports of public assaults and baby trafficking, police in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region said on Tuesday.

Wang works for an Internet company in the city of Guyuan in the region, and police said he is the sole manager of the account. He will remain in detention for five days.

The arrest was made after the authorities last week issued a new regulation targeting the country's 5.8 million public accounts on services such as WeChat.

Only media organizations and news websites may now use public accounts to release and retweet political reports.

Under the order from the State Internet Information Office, applicants for public accounts are required to provide their real names, while users who have previously registered accounts will have limited access to the service until they verify their identity.

As of July, there were nearly 460 million users of instant messaging tools in China, an increase of 28.4 million since last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

The new rule is part of wider attempts to police cyberspace. Similar regulations were passed in 2012 in respect to micro-blogging service Sina Weibo, which now has more than 500 million registered users.