Feeds

Chinese social sites lift post-coup controls

Comment is free ... but could get you in a lot of bother

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Chinese authorities have as promised allowed social media giants Tencent and Sina to re-open their popular micro-blogging platforms to comments, although these firms could face a tough time going forward as government censors increase their scrutiny.

Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were singled out by the Party after apparently unfounded rumours of a coup in Beijing spread via the Twitter-like services a fortnight ago.

Aside from shuttering 16 web sites and arresting six so-called ‘rumour mongers’, the authorities took action by doling out an unspecified punishment to Sina and Tencent and forcing the firms to purge their sites of any more rumours which could be deemed harmful to the State.

David Bandurski, a researcher at Hong Kong university, translated the message greeting Tencent users on Saturday on his China Media Project blog.

Users and Friends:

Recently, rumours and other illegal and harmful information spread through microblogs have had a negative social impact, and harmful information has been relatively predominant in comment sections, requiring concentrated cleansing. For this purpose, this site has decided to temporarily suspend the comment function on microblogs from 8am March 31 to 8am April 3. We express our apologies for any inconvenience.

Bandurski explained that while the message makes out as if the action has been undertaken by Tencent under its own initiative, the order undoubtedly came from the government’s Orwellian-sounding State Internet Information Office.

He added that the government-led crack down on web rumours, while portrayed as an attempt to fight for truth and accuracy, is actually the opposite.

“The underlying principal is the political control of information,” he wrote.

With a once-in-a-decade change of leadership set to take place in the Party next year, web firms like Sina and Tencent will come under increasing scrutiny from the government’s army of censors.

However, the real work of censoring content is actually left to the web sites themselves.

It has been suggested that many could find their margins squeezed ever tighter as they employ more staff to make sure content on the platforms doesn’t break increasingly strict censorship laws. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
True fact: 1 in 4 Brits are now TERRORISTS
YouGov poll reveals terrible truth about the enemy within
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
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'
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?