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Global Times

Shanghai's crackdown on rumors about COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control starts to take effect

Global Times

By Global Times Published: May 18, 2022 12:31 AM

A total of 78 WeChat groups that spread rumors about COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control have been suspended and 46 users who first release the false information were punished in accordance with the law by local authorities in East China's Shanghai, since the announcement of the investigation against rumor-mongering on social media on April 8.

The Shanghai Cyberspace Administration said in a statement on its official WeChat account on Tuesday that the city has been hit by a series of rumors since the outbreak. Public security departments have taken criminal compulsory measures against 25 rumormongers and imposed administrative penalties on 48 others.

The Shanghai Cyberspace Administration issued a notice about the further investigation against rumor-mongering on social media on its official WeChat account on April 8.

Local authorities in Shanghai are going to deal with those that maliciously spread rumors on COVID-19 prevention and control in the city and urged citizens to maintain a good cyberspace, read the notice.

According to the announcement, the Shanghai Cyberspace Administration earlier received complaints that some netizens were creating, releasing and spreading rumors and false information about the COVID-19 prevention and control in Shanghai on social media, especially on WeChat groups.

After receiving reports from netizens and verifying, rumors circulating on social media saying "passports and French residence cards were confiscated at the airport", "the dismissal of an official in Huangpu district is related to his agreement with the nucleic acid review of residents", and "the entire country's Jingdong express delivery to Shanghai has been suspended" are all false information, local authorities noted.

Due to the widespread rumors on social media and their adverse social impact, local authorities have banned online groups that share false information in accordance with laws and regulations and punished the WeChat users who first published the rumors, read the announcement.

The Shanghai Cyberspace Administration stated that it will always adhere to a "zero-tolerance" policy towards epidemic-related rumors and actively work with public security organs to crack down on illegal and criminal acts of fabricating and spreading rumors, as the city is in a critical period of transition to stable prevention and control.

The local authorities in Shanghai said they will earnestly fulfill their responsibility and continue to strengthen efforts to dispel rumors and misinformation online as to create clean cyberspace for the city's concerted fight against the virus.

Meanwhile, residents in Shanghai are advised to improve their discernment of online rumors and encouraged to report rumors and false information truthfully to maintain a good network environment.

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