Chinese authorities have suspended more than 580 social media accounts, including those of popular commentators, for spreading rumours, confusing people or going against the constitution.
A statement issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the suspended accounts include those of “celebrities” on the popular microblog Weibo who had thousands of followers.
It accused them of “ignoring their social responsibilities, abusing their influence, staining the honour of the state and disrupting social order”.
CAC said it had also ordered other websites to remove more than 2000 rumours affecting people’s daily lives, transportation, food security and public policies.
The statement comes amid efforts by China to tighten internet censorship.
From March, it will begin controlling the content published by foreign companies online.
These companies cannot directly publish their “creative content” on the web, including games, animation, comics, audio or video recordings, without the prior approval of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.