80 Chinese crypto influencer accounts shut down in latest crackdown

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Sina Weibo — one of the most popular Chinese social media apps, with over 258 million daily active users — has removed 80 influencer accounts promoting cryptocurrency activities, citing official legislation.

According to the Sept. 5 announcement, 80 crypto influencer accounts, with over 8 million total followers, were “proactively removed” by Weibo. The accounts were accused of breaching eight regulations related to telecommunications, finance, banking, online marketing, securities, exchanges and internet safety for their role in promoting cryptocurrencies. 

The platform has been periodically sweeping out crypto accounts ever since China’s cryptocurrency ban took effect in September 2021. In March, Weibo removed 131 accounts linked to crypto and stock trading activities. 

The largest nationwide crackdown occurred in August 2022, when the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) removed 12,000 influencer accounts on Weibo and Baidu linked to cryptocurrencies and deleted 51,000 related promotional posts. In defending the decision, the CAC wrote

“[The purpose is to] protect the property safety of the people in accordance with the law and to remind the majority of netizens to establish correct investment concepts, enhance risk prevention awareness, refrain from participating in virtual currency trading hype activities, and beware of personal property damage.”

Similarly, Weibo said in its previous enforcement action: 

“We will continue to increase the crackdown on illegal securities activities that exist on the platform and strictly control related violations of laws and regulations, and we will never tolerate them.”

Starting this year, China has been cracking down on private crypto-related activities due to a combination of capital flight, money laundering and the need to preserve its state-run crypto efforts. Some of these efforts have resulted in collateral damage for non-Chinese investors.

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