Feeds

Chinese social sites lift post-coup controls

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.