Chinese internet regulators have banned online media from publishing unverified news reports and content from social media, the authorities said.
Every news item taken from social media must be verified before publishing.
Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued a notice late Sunday stating that news websites must accredit sources, and were banned from fabricating stories or distorting facts, Xinhua news agency reported.
The CAC punished some major websites which fabricated stories this year, including sina.com, ifeng.com, 163.com and the site run by one of the country's biggest internet companies, Tencent.
In February, a journalist from the Caijing Magazine wrote a story based on fabricated online content describing a village in northeast China where villagers do not respect the elderly and women are promiscuous. The story went viral.