Pic: AP.

BEIJING (AP) — China is targeting popular instant messaging services in a month-long campaign to crack down on the spreading of rumors and what it calls “hostile forces at home and abroad.”

The official Xinhua News Agency said the services targeted included WeChat, a service run by TenCent Holdings Ltd.

Noting that such services had become popular online communication channels, Xinhua said: “Some people have used them to distribute illegal and harmful information, seriously undermining public interests and order in cyberspace.”

Earlier this year, the ruling Communist Party announced the creation of an Internet security group led by President Xi Jinping. Observers say authorities are wary of millions of Chinese with Internet access getting ideas that might threaten the Communist Party system.