China’s internet watchdog seeks to tighten regulation of comments on social media platforms


cyberspace Photo: VCG

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Friday issued draft regulations to review online comments and mobile chats on social media platforms, asking providers not to allow users without registering their real names on platforms to comment on.

In order to assess the behaviors of online commentators, activities of serious rule violations would be recorded and blacklisted, according to the draft regulations.

The draft was released by the CAC on Friday to solicit public opinion. It aims to better manage the services provided by online programs, social media platforms and news websites so that users can comment, reply or use mobile chats in accordance with the law.

The draft says platform providers should refuse to provide services to users who do not register with a real name. And, the project required websites to review user comments before posting them.

It also requires platforms to fix their technology gaps to process online responses and comments, and to hire enough content reviewers.

The project proposes to establish a multi-level management system for evaluating online comments. Those who post comments that seriously violate the law should be blacklisted and suspended from posting comments. It should also be prohibited to create a new account to comment and reply.

And, behaviors such as deleting, recommending comments, and interfering with the process to infringe the legal rights of others, or to seek illegal profit by misleading the public, are prohibited.

In 2016, the CAC launched a campaign to regulate issues that appeared in the comments section on the internet. Ren Xianliang, then head of administration, said the comment section is an important area where netizens express and exchange ideas and opinions. Ren also highlighted the responsibility of ISPs in regulating the comment section.

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