Chinese social media giant WeChat has reportedly closed down accounts owned by several cryptocurrency and blockchain media accounts on its platform, local news outlet Lanjinger reports.
The Tencent-owned company indicated in a statement that it had carried out the sudden purge in line with central government’s cryptocurrency policy.
Beginning on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, WeChat began implementing a sudden shutdown of no fewer than eight accounts linked to bitcoin and crypto news organizations. Some of affected platforms include Huobi News, Coindaily and Jinse Caijing.
Tencent later confirmed the development in a statement, where it said the platforms were shut down in line with the regulatory policy, as they were “suspected of publishing information about ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading.”
Though the statement did not explicitly reference a specific government policy that necessitated the account removals, an ordinance enacted on August 7, 2018, by the Cyberspace Administration of China called “Temporary Regulations on the Development and Management of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging” may well be responsible for the unexpected move.
Pattern of Restriction
Account closures are quite common in China, which has some of the most stringent cryptocurrency-related regulatory policies in the world.
Over the past year, the Chinese government has banned organizations and infrastructure linked to cryptocurrency trading, driving crypto exchanges underground or away from Mainland China to Hong Kong and other friendlier jurisdictions like Malta.
China’s state-owned People’s Daily newspaper, which often functions as an official mouthpiece of the government, published an editorial in March 2018 attacking crypto news outlets for publishing material allegedly aimed at promoting ICO investment and crypto trading in China.
Earlier today, Beijing’s Chaoyang District issued a notice prohibiting the use of property within the district for hosting activities related to cryptocurrencies or crypto investment promotion.