China has decided to to set up a national-level online platform to identify fake news and rumours that are uploaded online. The platform will be used to alert the public about news deemed to be fake by the government and counter such reports as well as pseudo-scientific theories that are propagated online by individuals. The platform will be hosted by the Chinese government’s Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center under the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission.
It will be called Piyao, which means ‘denying a rumour’ in Chinese. It will include a website, a mobile app and social media accounts with social media giants Weibo and WeChat.
The platform will also allow the public to report on online rumours or fake news. It will even deploy artificial intelligence to identify reports that are false, or which are not from new sources controlled by the government. Via those channels, Piyao will broadcast “real” news, sourcing reports from state-owned media, party-controlled local newspapers, and various government agencies.
The single platform is the integration of 40 rumour-busting websites that have now been integrated into a single national one. As of this month, China has 802 million active internet users, which is 57.7 per cent of its population. In a heavily regulated society, people often turn to the internet to vent their ire.
Media reports state that in July alone, internet regulators had received at least 6.7 million complaints about false information being posted in Chinese social media. “Rumours violate individual rights; rumours create social panic; rumours cause fluctuations in the stock markets; rumours impact normal business operations; rumours blatantly attack revolutionary martyrs,” Piyao said in a promotional video of the launch on its website.
The platform will also broadcast news that it deems true and safe, which will be sourced from government-controlled media. The platform operates under the guidance of 27 government departments, including the Central Party School, which trains rising officials, and powerful planning body the National Development and Reform Commission.
President Xi Jinping said last year that China will build a “clean and clear” internet space. With agency inputs