Feeds

Sina's self-censorship scheme swamped with spam, not rumours

Weibo giant is planning to increase community censors to 100,000

Intelligent flash storage arrays

It's become fashionable for the likes of Facebook and Twitter to reveal how often spooks ask them to retrieve data. Chinese micro-blogging giant Sina Weibo has now more or less done likewise and revealed its army of 5,500 community reviewers have been more busy dealing with spam complaints over the past year than politically motivated rumours, according to a new report.

Beijing News (via Global Voices) reported new stats from the firm a year after it introduced a community code of practice (CoP) whereby users are encouraged to report each other if they break the rules by posting spam or pornographic content, or “harmful” rumours.

Each user apparently starts with a credit rating of 80, and if that figure drops to below 60 they will find their account restricted and marked as a “low credit” user. If it’s allowed to slide to zero then the account is permanently deleted and they are prevented from registering another in their own name.

A year after the self-censorship scheme was begun, the CoP Community Centre received a total of over 15 million reports, with 12m of these related to spam, one million to indecent material and two million to rumours.

It is the latter that the Communist Party has been leaning on social media companies in the Middle Kingdom to stamp out as they are believed to disrupt social order – in other words undermine the government’s authority.

It should be remembered that “rumours” are not necessarily untrue, merely that the authorities want to suppress a particular piece of news, like the attempted defection of Chongqing PSB chief Wang Lijun last year.

The stats don’t tell the whole story, however. As TechInAsia points out, many politically motivated rumours are dealt with by another system altogether and accounts which post such sensitive content are at risk from deletion well before their credit runs out.

The relatively low number of rumour-based complaints last year could also either point to greater self-censorship by users or more effective keyword-based blocking on Sina's part.

In another sign of the ever-tightening controls being placed on Chinese weibo users, the report also claimed that Sina’s team of 5,500 community censors will be expanded to a whopping 100,000. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
Oi, Europe! Tell US feds to GTFO of our servers, say Microsoft and pals
By writing a really angry letter about how it's harming our cloud business, ta
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
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?
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.