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China is putting new restrictions on mobile messaging apps

China has new set of restrictions on what citizens will be able to post on messaging applications, Chinese officials said Thursday. The new set of regulations is a national security measure, the officials said. Under the new policy, China is blocking two foreign chat apps, Kakaotalk and the wildly popular Line, saying that the messaging services were being used to ferry terrorist communications. And it is introducing a registration policy for all other messaging apps, including WeChat, which is very popular in China.

China issued new restrictions on messaging apps Thursday in a move it said was to “help build a clean cyberspace” and safeguard national security. The rules, issued by China’s State Internet and Information Office Thursday, apply to public accounts that users can subscribe to on messaging apps such as Tencent Holding Ltd.’s WeChat and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Laiwang, as opposed to individual accounts through which users chat with personal contacts. New public-account users must register with their real names and sign an agreement that they will “abide by laws and regulations, the socialist system, national interests, the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, public order, social morality and ensure the authenticity of the information they provide.” The rules also say that only news organizations and authorized websites will be allowed to post or share political news through public accounts. Accounts that violate the rules can be warned and restricted from posting content or removed. The rules could affect small online news organizations and blogs that have been using WeChat to bring posts to readers.

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