China on Wednesday closed the social media accounts of several popular paparazzi as a part of efforts to uphold socialist core values and clean up the cyber environment.
The Beijing Cyberspace Administration talked to the management of several websites including Sina Weibo, Jinri Toutiao, Youku and Baidu on Wednesday, requiring them to fulfill their duties, spread socialist core values, create healthy public opinion environment and contain the hyping of pop stars' personal affairs.
Sina Weibo closed 19 accounts that fabricated rumors and damaged other people's reputation, the platform said in a statement, adding that it emphasizes the protection of public figures' rights and values the user's experience on the platform. Other social media platforms also closed several paparazzi accounts.
Among the list is Zhuo Wei, dubbed as China's No.1 paparazzi. Having 7 million followers before his Sina Weibo account was shut down,
Zhuo is famous for revealing scandals in the Chinese entertainment circle. He shot to fame in 2014 after revealing that Chinese movie star Wen Zhang had an extramarital affair with Yao Di, his co-star in hit television series, Naked Marriage.
Recently, Zhuo also created a wave on Sina Weibo for revealing actress Bai Baihe of "secretly dating" and "flirting" with a young male model in Thailand. The "extramarital affair" soon dominated the entertainment headlines.
Many Net users applauded Sina Weibo's move, decrying some accounts for spreading rumors and gaining profit by hyping up scandals.
The People's Daily published an article in May criticizing the hyping of celebrity gossip. It said that mass media should shoulder "social responsibility and guide the society." With regard to gossip, the mass media should give correct guidance instead of providing a platform for it, said the People's Daily.
The move came after the implementation of China's first Cyber Security Law which stipulates that any person and organization using networks shall not disseminate violent, obscene or sexual information; create or disseminate false information to disrupt economic or social order; and infringe on the reputation, privacy, intellectual property or other lawful rights and interests of others.
The law also states that network operators should stop the transmission of prohibited information.
In February 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China shut down the blog accounts of Ren Zhiqiang, property mogul and Communist Party of China member, following his "constant publication of illegal information that had created a vicious impact."
Some Internet celebrities ignored their social responsibility and abused their influence to publish information that violates the Constitution and damages national interest, the CAC said in a statement.