But restrictive measures have multiplied in recent months, as celebrity gossip blogs and online video streaming sites alike have fallen victim to the new web regulations.
Last month, the Cyberspace Administration directed the country's biggest technology firms—including Baidu, Tencent and Sohu—to shut down accounts on their networks that publish "bad information".
Another mandate in the new cybersecurity law requires online platforms to get a licence to post news reports or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs and social issues.
There has also been increasing concern among internet users that they will completely lose access to virtual private networks (VPN), software which allows people to circumvent the Great Firewall.
"The Red Guard generation is in power now," one Weibo commenter said of the latest investigation, alluding to a 1960s youth paramilitary movement that tormented and attacked people whom they perceived to be opposed to Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution.
- China investigating WeChat, Weibo in content crackdownCBC.ca
- China investigates internet giants over 'violence, rumours, porn'CNET
- China probes Tencent, Baidu and Sina over subversive contentFinancial Times
- China targets social media giants over 'rumors,' 'porn'KSAT San Antonio
- China Plans Crackdown on Social Media 'Fake News' and These Big Tech Names TankTheStreet.com
- China Probes Social Media Giants Over Illegal User ContentVariety
- Naspers shares hit four-week lows after China launches cyber investigationReuters
- Chinese regulator probing Tencent, Weibo and BaiduTaipei Times
- Beijing cracks down on Chinese social media giants for terrorismAxios