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Beijing launches platform to debunk online rumors

Updated: 2013-08-02 08:54
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Six Chinese websites jointly launched a platform on Thursday to refute online rumors, a move that an official has termed Beijing's latest endeavor to clean up the "Internet environment".

The platform is a website that collects statements from Twitter-like services, news portals and China's biggest search engine, Baidu, to refute online rumors and expose the scams of phishing websites.

The platform operates under the instruction of the Beijing Internet Information Office (BIIO) and the Beijing Internet Association, a non-profit social organization.

The popular use of the Internet has expanded Chinese people's channels of expression, but also facilitated the circulation of rumors and false information, said Chen Hua, director of the Internet information service and management department under the BIIO.

"The platform will be a new try by Beijing's websites to eradicate online rumors and raise Internet users' awareness of telling rumors from the truth," he said.

The platform was jointly launched by websites Qianlong, Sogou, Sohu, Netease, Baidu and Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter-like microblogging service.

So far, the first phase of the platform has been completed, said Chen.

It has collected about 100,000 brief statements on online rumors and phishing websites and offered Internet users about 30 websites through which they can report online rumors or scams.

Operators of the platform will spend another year finishing the second phase. Once that is complete, more entertaining and interactive programs will be introduced to encourage the public to report online rumors.

Why rumors travel fast

Some Internet users create rumors to attract attention, while others do it to blow off some steam. But rumors fabricated on purpose can be dangerous and incite panic, said Min Dahong, a researcher on Internet usage.

Based on Wu Chenguang's observations, rumors travel especially fast in times of emergency such as natural disasters and other mass incidents.

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