BEIJING, China - China’s cyber regulator announced on Friday that it is investigating the country’s social media sites over claims that the sites might not be complying with the recent laws implemented by authorities.
The Cyberspace Administration said it was investigating Tencent, WeChat, Weibo and Baidu over failing to comply with laws that ban content which is violent, obscene or deemed offensive to the Communist Party.
The regulator said on its website, "Users are spreading violence, terror, false rumours, pornography and other hazards to national security, public safety, social order.”
The action announced by China is the latest in a series of regulatory actions against the country's top tech firms as the country’s cyber authorities recently moved to an increasingly hardened stance on censorship, doling out harsh punishments to firms that fail to comply.
The country has tightened its cyber surveillance ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is scheduled to be held later this year.
The investigation announced on Friday also comes a month after the same firms were ordered to carry out immediate "cleaning and rectification" at a meeting with their representatives.
At that meeting, authorities had reportedly cited specific examples of illicit content, including rumours about party officials and misrepresenting Chinese military history.
Weibo was also ordered to partially close its video site over violations, wiping out a combined $1.3 billion worth of stock between Weibo and parent firm Sina Corp.