China Cracks Down On Messaging Apps, Blames Terrorism

China says people are using mobile apps to share information on making bombs.

China blocked some messaging apps and implemented new, tough restrictions on other instant messaging services Thursday. According to Reuters, China told the South Korean ministry it blocked KakaoTalk and Line because terrorists were using them to transmit information on building bombs. Line has 420 million users worldwide and KakaoTalk has 150 million, but data on how many users are in China is unavailable.

China Daily, a state-owned newspaper, says the new regulations are to deter “those who spread illegal information on instant messaging tools, as well as the promotion of violence, terrorism and pornography.”

The new regulations require users to register with their real names and agree to "abide by laws and regulations, the socialist system, national interests, the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, public order, social morality and ensure the authenticity of the information they provide."

Furthermore, only news outlets and government-approved websites will be allowed to share political news on these services. Violations of these terms can lead to warnings or account deletions.

This crackdown is part of a larger strategy by the Chinese government to restrict dissent against the Communist party on social media and mobile communication platforms. China already blocks Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Some of the newly blocked messaging apps include WeChat, KakaoTalk, Line, Didi, TalkBox, and Vower, the Wall Street Journal reports.

[Image: Flickr user Jeff Turner]

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