Feeds

China's police ignore real name rules ... so far

Users reportedly still able to post on weibos despite strict registration rules

High performance access to file storage

Users of China’s hugely popular social media platforms must now register with their real-names if they want to be granted posting rights after a strict new government ruling came into force on Friday night, although reports suggest that the rules have yet to be enforced across the board.

The new system has been rolled out nationally on sites such as Sina Weibo, Sohu and Tencent ostensibly to eradicate zombie follower accounts and prevent “harmful” rumours from spreading across the web, although critics fear it will usher in an era of even stricter censorship online.

ID card or mobile phone number are the two primary ways users are being allowed to register for such sites, the latter acceptable because in China users need to submit their ID card details in order to activate a new mobile SIM.

However, when The Reg checked on Friday afternoon on the Sina Weibo home page, only around 19 million users had registered with their real name details, well short of the site's estimated 300m users.

With the deadline for registrations coming at midnight on the same day, it’s unlikely that even half of the users on the site are abiding by the new rules, something which chief executive Charles Chao has already warned could silence a massive number of Sina Weibo users.

Reports have emerged that users are able to post on the sites despite not having registered with their ID details, although it could be that enforcement of the rules has yet to kick in.

Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based IT consultancy Marbridge Consulting, told The Reg that at the moment there aren’t any real incentives for users to move forward with the real-name registration process.

“For those accounts that belong to real people, we expect broad real-name registration compliance only once the platform operators begin enforcing the requirement and closing loopholes for circumnavigating it,” he added.

“So far users who registered Sina Weibo accounts prior to the transition period are still able to post and forward without registering their real-name details and an account I registered using only a pre-paid mobile number in mid-February can also still post and forward.”

Critics have argued that the new rules are another nail in the coffin for free speech in China, just when social media sites were emerging as a genuine platform for web users in the People’s Republic to air their views.

The authorities have already introduced strict new rules governing what journalists can report in what was widely seen as an effort to discourage them from sourcing stories from social media. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Singapore decides 'three strikes' laws are too intrusive
When even a prurient island nation thinks an idea is dodgy it has problems
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.