Feeds

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

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

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.