China’s cyber authority has erased around 9,800 social media accounts of independent news providers for allegedly posting sensational, vulgar and politically harmful content on the internet, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The Cyberspace Administration of China on Monday said in a statement that it had erased the accounts for “spreading politically harmful information, maliciously falsifying [Chinese Communist] party history, slandering heroes and defaming the nation’s image.” The campaign to delete these accounts was launched on October 20.

The cyber authority said it has warned messaging service WeChat and microblogging service Weibo for failing to prevent “uncivilised growth” and “all kinds of chaos” among independent media on their platforms. “The chaos among self-media accounts has seriously trampled on the dignity of the law and damaged the interests of the masses,” the agency added.

Online commentators said some of the accounts were sharing false and pornographic content, which are illegal in China, while a few accounts had been “too critical”.

Last week, the Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Gao Xiang said social media platforms “can be big but should also be well-regulated”, Channel News Asia reported.

China has strict censorship rules and has tightened them over the years with new legislation to restrict media outlets, surveillance measures for media sites and campaigns to remove content deemed to be unacceptable.