The measure comes amidst the government’s campaign to curb ‘online rumours’ and rein in social media.
The State Internet Information Office said that some of the news applications carried ‘pornography and obscene information and harm the physical and mental health of youngsters’, while others published false information, Dawn reports.
Those apps which are under the government’s radar include Zaker, which said that it had more than 17.5 million users at the end of April, and Chouti whose slogan reads, ‘Publish all that should not be published’.
According to the report, government regulators have threatened to shut down those who refuse to ‘rectify’ as per the laws in order to maintain order of new dissemination on the mobile internet.
China’s top court has also issued a regulation specifying that people who spread online rumours that get 5,000 visits or reposted 500 times will be charged with defamation and given sentences up to three years in jail.
The report added that lawyers and activists called the latest crackdown a significant expansion of powers to police the Internet and a blow to those who rely on microblogs to disseminate information that is often not monitored as strictly as traditional media.