Feeds

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

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

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.