Chinese internet watchdog said on Monday that it has imposed maximum fines on tech giants Baidu, Tencent and Sina Weibo for failing to adequately deal with online content
The Cyberspace Administration of China said the companies did not do enough to deal with pornography, violence and other banned content on their platforms
Though the regulator did not specify the fine amount, the country's new cybersecurity law suggests it could be up to 500,000 yuan
Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images
People read on mobile phone while waiting for the train in Tianjin railway station.
Chinese authorities said on Monday that they have handed down maximum fines to the operators of three major social-media platforms in the country for failing to deal with pornography, violence and other banned content on their sites.
The affected platforms are Baidu's online forum Tieba, microblogging site Weibo and Tencent's massively popular social app WeChat. In August, authorities had said the respective operators were under investigation for cybersecurity violations.
The Cyberspace Administration of China, the watchdog that monitors online activities, issued a notice saying tech giants Baidu and SinaWeibo were handed maximum fines under the new cybersecurity law for "failing to fulfill their management duties" in dealing with pornographic and violent content, as well as information that "promotes ethnic hatred."
Separately, the watchdog's Guangdong office issued a similar notice that handed the same maximum fine to Tencent.
The regulators did not specify the maximum amount that the companies could be fined. But under the new cybersecurity guidelines that went into effect earlier this year, it could be up to 500,000 yuan ($76,000) — a relatively small amount for Baidu, Tencent and Weibo. For context, Tencent's total revenue for 2016 was $21.9 billion.
Tencent and Weibo did not immediately return CNBC's requests for comment.
A Baidu spokesperson referred CNBC to a statement the company made in August when regulators began their investigation. In the statement, the company apologized and said it would work with authorities to rectify the situation and improve the platform's information verification efforts.
Separately, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp seemed to be functioning properly Tuesday morning after it earlier appeared to have been blocked again on the mainland. Users had said then that they were unable to access the service without a virtual private network (VPN) connection that usually helps to bypass censorship.
More at CNBC