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

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Chinese Man Arrested For Creating Panic With WeChat Rumors


(Photo : Reuters)

Chinese authorities arrested a man for the very first time for reportedly spreading panic through rumors of public assaults and child trafficking via the instant messaging tool WeChat, Xinhua news reported on Tuesday.

The suspect, identified with a surname Wang, had been detained after Chinese police traced his WeChat account.

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He reportedly announced that police shot and killed three people accused of carrying explosives in the province of Jiangsu.

After thorough investigations were made, police officers have announced that the report was a hoax, which was later confirmed by Wang who intentionally spread the rumors to gain more attention for his Internet-based business.

Wang, an Internet company employee in Guyuan City, is set to be detained for five days. It was unclear what charges will be pressed against him.

Hours before the arrest was made on Thursday, the Chinese government released a new rule regulating the use of instant messaging tools for sending public messages to their followers.

The new the regulation will mostly affect media and other companies who use instant messaging services to relay information to their audience and prospective customers.

It requires public account users to sign an agreement vowing "to comply with the law, the socialist system, the national interest, citizens' legal rights, public order, social moral customs, and authenticity of information."

WeChat is one of the most commonly used instant messaging tools, especially in China. The application currently has 400 million users monthly all over the world as of March 2014.

Over 20 billion posts are made in China every day from more than 800 million instant messaging users in the country.

It is an application mainly used to send messages to individuals and smaller groups unlike much more public social networking platforms like Weibo, which is similar to Twitter's microblogs.

Similar regulations for policing the Internet space were passed in 2012 for Weibo.

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