Feeds

Chinese micro-blogs a hit with police

But Sina users urged to snitch on each other...

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

China’s micro-blogging platforms are a hit with the country’s web-savvy police forces, despite being forced to implement yet more prohibitive regulations this week.

Provincial and local public security bureaus across the land are so keen on the Twitter-like weibos that the People’s Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Center released a table of the top ten most influential police accounts.

The University of Hong Kong-based China Media Project blog reproduced a version of the rankings, which were drawn up according to criteria including number of followers, their activity levels, and number of original posts.

For the record, top dog was @GuangzhouPublicSecurity, followed by @JinanPublicSecurity, and third came Harbin police’s optimistically-titled account, @PeacfulHarbin.

The accounts are not just a way for the forces to appear more accessible and transparent but also help them catch crooks.

Guangzhou police, for example, ran an online campaign to catch 54 of the region’s most wanted suspects, drawing in nearly 100,000 users, according to the blog.

Of course, there is a more obvious reason for the police to be active on weibos - namely to help them monitor, censor and shape public opinion. For this reason alone, the companies behind such platforms can probably rest assured they are not in any danger of being shut down.

Weibo operators have, however, been under significant pressure from the authorities over the past few months to step up self-censorship efforts.

The latest chapter came on Monday when the country’s hugely popular micro-blogging site Sina Weibo introduced new “user contracts”.

The code of conduct forbids users to do things like spread harmful rumours, call for mass gatherings or personally insult others.

Although the system did not introduce anything that wasn’t already banned by the authorities, it could be viewed – along with the recently introduced real name registration rules - as another way for the government to control what gets said online and by whom.

An accompanying points system was rolled out to ensure those breaking the rules will be deducted credits and could eventually have their account cancelled.

Interestingly, 'Weibo Credit' encourages users to report each other for breaking the rules, neatly subverting the very idea of social media.

Although the new rules have ostensibly been implemented by Sina, operator of one Weibo, on its own initiative, it’s likely the government had something to do with it , especially given the firm was singled out for unspecified punishment in the fall-out from the Bo Xilai scandal. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.