China Arrests Man For Causing Mayhem With Rumors On WeChat

A man in China has been arrested for writing on WeChat that three people carrying explosives were shot and killed by police outside a hospital in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Chinese authorities detained the individual just hours after government officials issued new rules on instant messaging tools, one of which bans spreading panic.

This is the first time someone has been arrested in China for such a thing. According to Reuters, this is part of a broader state initiative to squash the spread of rumors and obscene material online, and also to censor political commentary.


In this instance, Chinese media reports that the man's claim had been investigated by police and found to be untrue. It was also reported that the man confessed to spreading the misinformation to bring attention to his online business and e-commerce website.

WeChat is a mobile text and voice messaging communication service developed by Tencent in China. It was released in January 2011 and has since become the largest standalone messaging app by monthly active users. It's available on a variety of platforms, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Symbian.

Until now, WeChat hasn't drawn much attention from China's government.