Fake social media accounts damaging image of Chinese military

Updated 2017-07-12 09:22:38 Global Times

Counterfeit military social media accounts that mislead the public for illicit gains have severely obstructed official information dissemination and damaged the image of the Chinese military, said experts.

Social media accounts bearing the name of People's Liberation Army (PLA) services and military media, such as PLA's official website, have been registered by individuals for personal gains, the PLA's flagship newspaper, PLA Daily, reported Tuesday.

A fake PLA Rocket Force account on WeChat was shut down for publishing erotic and vulgar content, and a fake PLA Daily WeChat account was deleted after several rounds of negotiations between the military organs and the operator, the newspaper reported.

Due to the existence of fake media accounts, it usually takes more time and effort for the military organs to open their real accounts, the report added.

Currently, there are thousands of military-related accounts on WeChat, many of which are run by individuals.

Experts said that imposters of military-related social media accounts infringe on the public's right to information by distorting facts and severely damaging the PLA's image.

"The widespread prevalence of fake accounts showed that the registration system of social media accounts was flawed, as the WeChat operator fails to strictly review the accounts bearing the name of 'PLA' or military services," said Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.

WeChat's policy on the naming of public accounts bans the use of the name of country, national flag, military flag and location of State organs, but does not prohibit the use of PLA-related names.

"Meanwhile, it is difficult to supervise accounts that try to skirt regulations on discussing military topics," said Zhang Zhian, president of the School of Communication and Design at Sun Yat-sen University.

Zhang added that the WeChat operator should invite a third party to assess whether a particular account has violated certain regulations.

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