China's Cyberspace Regulator Tightens Rules to Hold Microblogging Sites Accountable for Illegal Content
Tang Shihua
/SOURCE : Yicai
China's Cyberspace Regulator Tightens Rules to Hold Microblogging Sites Accountable for Illegal Content

(Yicai Global) Feb. 2 -- China's cyberspace regulator issued a set of new rules titled "Administrative Regulations for Microblog Information Services" today, stipulating that microblogging service providers should be responsible for the content they publish online.

The service providers should implement and continuously improve various management systems, and effectively put in place secure technical support and preventive measures, the document said. The size of their management teams must match the scale of service operations.

Following the principle of "mandatory real-name registration in the background, and voluntary name display in the foreground," microblogging service operators should verify user identity and sign a service agreement with users to clarify their respective rights and obligations, the document said.

Operators are required to set up "rumor exclusion" mechanisms so that they can quash rumors and false information after they emerge. Also, they should take prompt actions to eliminate information and content prohibited by the law.

Operators of public online news and information services must obtain the internet-based news information service permit according to law, and provide relevant services within the scope allowed, per the regulations. Unlicensed organizations and individuals may not engage in online news service activities, and licensed operators should not overstep the limits of allowed businesses specified in the permit.

The regulations will come into force on March 20. Comprising of 18 articles, the document set out provisions concerning the responsibilities of microblog service providers, identity verification, classification-based administration, rumor exclusion mechanisms, self-regulation by the industry, social supervision and administrative regulation.

answered questions from the press regarding the promulgation of the regulations: Some microblog service providers are not fully aware of their obligations toward information security, and some people take advantage of deficiencies in their management and technical support systems to spread obscene content and illegal materials containing racial discrimination, rumor, fraud, pyramid scheme or gambling related information, said an official from the Central Leading Group for Cyberspace Affairs in a press briefing.

In the document, microblogging is defined as a social media network service developed based on the user attraction mechanism, where information is disseminated and retrieved in the form of short text messages, images and videos. Sina Weibo owned by Sina Corp  is the most popular microblogging platform in China.

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Keywords: Government Regulation , Social Media , Weibo , REGULATION