China targets tech giants in app privacy crackdown

Chinese companies including social media giant Tencent have been ordered by regulators to clean up how their apps handle user information or face possible penalties.

The industry ministry said Thursday that 41 apps failed an examination following orders to ensure they comply with user data rules.

The operators cited include major social media and news services including Tencent’s QQ messaging , Sina Sports, Sohu News and Xiaomi Finance.

The ministry said violations included improperly collecting or using information about visitors to their services.

Chinese authorities encourage internet and social media use but have steadily tightened censorship and controls on what companies can do with information they gather.

The ministry said companies must comply by Dec. 31 or face “relevant resolution work,” but gave no details.

Data protection rules say possible penalties include fines and loss of operating licenses.

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