- China daily news
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A new report is suggesting Tencent's social messaging service WeChat is rapidly becoming one of the main sources for people in China to share information.
According to the report, the internet is now a must for many Chinese people seeking information, communicating, shopping, and paying for various products and services.
Li Peilin, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the service industry has used mobile networks widely since last year.
"China's new media development is embracing unprecedented opportunities. New media is increasingly becoming an integrated service platform for Chinese people especially young citizens in urban area. Different kinds of online services are springing up such as online shopping, e-payment, online taxi booking, online education and even online medical treatment.”
Li Peilin adds that China's new media is faced with problems, including Internet information security, supervision over internet finance, as well as the spread of rumors online.
According to the report, China's micro blogging platform Sina Weibo is still the largest platform for spreading information, though more and more people are starting to communicate with the instant messaging service Wechat.
Tang Xujin, chief editor of the report, says information spreading via Wechat is increasing sharply.
Even though Weibo users' dropped 11.4 percent compared with the year before, active users ended up adding 48 million mobile client. Meanwhile, by the end of last year, Wechat had more than 600million users and the average reading of each user is 5.9 articles every day.
According to the report, nearly 60 percent of fake news items in 2014 originated on Sina Weibo, while rumors on WeChat, although only accounting for 7 percent, were more difficult to dispel because it is a closed system.
Compared with Weibo, where different stories often contradict each other, WeChat users are reluctant to point out rumors posted by their friends and families.
Tang Xujin says there are some common topics among the fake stories.
There is a subject report concentrating on wechat rumors. According to the report, the top seven topics for wechat rumors are food security, human security, disease, health regimes, fraud, finance and parenting techniques. Wechat rumors typically involve exaggeration of details, like figures. The writing seems to be reasonable and easy to believe while the information is highly uncertain. All the above makes people easily fooled."
This year marks the sixth year for the CASS to release the "Annual Report on Development of New Media in China."