Micro blog operators have been ordered to take responsibility for information security on their platforms and were urged to build and improve work systems, under a regulation released on Feb 2.
The rule, issued by China's Cyberspace Administration, clarifies the do's and don'ts for micro-blogging service providers, in a move to further purify the online environment by strengthening industry self-discipline.
"We recently found someone posting illegal or improper information - including pornography, gambling and fraud - on micro blogs, which disturbed the order of cyberspace and harmed others' rights," an official of the authority said in a statement. "To ensure national safety and the public interest, we made the rule."
In the regulation, micro blog operators are ordered to establish and enhance systems of user registration and information posting and review, as well as to use safe technologies and qualified employees to run the platforms.
Micro blog accounts must be open only to those providing real identities, and identity verification should be checked by micro blog operators regularly, according to the regulation.
Micro-bloggers should be accurately managed and regulated in line with what content they post and how many followers they have, while those willing to publish news must get a news license, it said.
Each operator, in the meantime, should set up or boost systems against online rumors and have a quick response or emergency procedure to fight illegal and improper information, it said.
A convenient reporting channel is also a must, it added.
The regulation will take effect on March 20.
"It's the right time for the authority to issue such a rule, and it will be a key guide to regulate the industry," says Zhu Wei, deputy director of the China University of Political Science and Law's Communication Law Center.
On Jan 27, Sina Weibo, one of the nation's most popular social media, was ordered by Beijing's internet watchdog to suspend its "hot" rankings for failing to stop the spread of illegal content.
"The 'hot ranking' operation is a commercial behavior, but that doesn't mean it can be operated at the cost of posting information that harms juveniles and the public interest," Zhu says.
"Internet operators cannot only look at short-term interests. Instead, they should take more social responsibility to keep the industry energetic in the long run," he adds.
Sina Weibo said on Feb 2 that it would strictly abide by the regulation and improve its management ability.
(China Daily European Weekly 02/09/2018 page15)