Feeds

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

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.