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China warns government departments to clean up social media accounts


The State Council issued stricter guidelines in an effort to attract younger people

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The State Council of the People's Republic of China has warned government departments to clean up its social media accounts in an effort to boost its image to attract younger people.

Officials issued stricter social media guidelines late Thursday, Reuters reported. The State Council said more regulation was needed for authorities' profiles, and it pledged to get rid of dormant accounts and "shocking" comments on official channels.

"This has a negative impact on the image and the public trust in the government," the cabinet said on its website.

Some government agencies have large followings. For instance, the Communist Party's Youth League has 7.7 million followers on Weibo.

What's the story?

The new rules come amid the government's push to reach younger generations who get most of their information on popular platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, and a news aggregator called Toutiao.

The move also is in line with the Communist leadership's ongoing attempt to control the sharing of information with the public, especially financial news and posts from bloggers and livestreamers, Reuters noted.

Facebook, Twitter, and other global social media platforms are banned in China.

Government accounts "cannot express any personal emotions or opinions, and normally should only repost information from government websites or from sources recognized by the government," the State Council said.

Paying for fake followers and fabricating social media data are also disallowed.

Earlier this year, the Yueyang municipal government's official Weibo account called an internet user an "environment protection b***h" when it shared a post that concerned a waste incineration plant. It later issued an apology, according to Reuters.

What else?

The State Council has also tightened its regulations on financial news and other information provided to the public.

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