Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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WeChat Shuts Down 20 Million Prostitution-Related Accounts

A total of a 20 million WeChat accounts related to prostitution and pornography have been shut down so far this year as Chinese authorities intensify their campaign against online pornography.

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Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which operates WeChat, said the shutting down of the 20 million accounts was made internally following tips from users of the popular instant messaging service.

Tencent added that it has also launched its own crackdown on online pornography and prostitution after police in Guangdong Province initiated a three-month-long campaign against cybercrime.

The company did not give further details about the 20 million accounts it closed but said those were all found to promote prostitution and pornography. It also closed 30,000 accounts that sold fake goods and pulled off more than 10 million bogus advertisements on a daily basis.

Tencent has put up around 10 million Chinese yuan (around US$1.6 million) to encourage its users to report accounts that are deemed pornographic or are involved in illegal activities such as prostitution, fake goods, or the spread of viruses.

So far, the company has handed out 250,000 yuan, around US $40,000, to informers since the launch of the reward system.

Tencent and the other Internet companies in China are carefully threading their pages to check on pornographic or illegal contents after the Chinese government revoked the Internet publication licenses of Sina Corp.

The revocation was ordered after authorities found pornographic content - 20 pictures and four videos, on The illegal contents were just a tiny fraction of the millions of pictures and videos posted on the said website but authorities were able to spot them through the help of the public.

Following the Sina issue, several Internet companies in the country immediately hired experts to check every page of their websites and to screen user-made content to ensure that these do not violate China's law against online pornography and lewd content.

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