Beijing, Sep 9 : Most people believe that Internet is China's most significant source of rumours, a survey has shown.
The online survey was conducted by the China Youth Daily newspaper.
Nearly 86 percent of the 1,714 netizens regard the Internet as the most common channel through which unchecked rumours are spread, followed by word-of-mouth and mobile phone text messages, Xinhua cited the newspaper as reporting.
The popularity of microblogs and other online communication mediums has resulted in the proliferation of falsehoods, due to the fact that netizens are allowed to speak anonymously, said Hu Yong, an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking University.
This anonymity makes it difficult to trace the sources of rumours and verify their authenticity, Hu said.
Sina Weibo, the country's most popular microblogging service, asked its millions of users to help stop the spread of unchecked rumours in August. The company vowed that microbloggers will have their accounts suspended for one month if they are found to be posting messages containing false information.
Liu Qi, a senior official, had encouraged Internet companies in August to stop the spread of "false and harmful information" and to "ensure the authenticity of information and create a healthy online media atmosphere".
With 485 million users, China is home to the world's largest number of registered netizens. The rising popularity of microblogging services has allowed this segment of the country's population to voice their opinions and beliefs in a way that has never been seen before in China.
The number of Chinese microbloggers reached 195 million by the end of June, a stunning increase of 208.9 percent over the number recorded around the end of 2010, according to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center.