Sina Weibo, the micro-blogging Chinese equivalent of Twitter, is preparing to issue new rules which dictate what its users can and cannot post to the site. Under what they’re calling a “user contract”, Sina Weibo will restrict individuals from posting content “that spreads rumors, disrupts social order, or destroys social stability.” The agreement also states that users cannot employ “oblique expressions” in order to get around these new regulations.
Failure to comply with the rules may result in deleted posts or, in extreme instances, the disabling of the user’s account. Offending content has also been described as anything that dishonors the nation or supports illicit behavior. In short, if you make China look bad in any way, shape, or form, there is a very strong possibility that you will no longer have access to Sina Weibo. Presently, the site sports nearly 200 million users. That’s a lot of people to keep an eye on.
The rise in concern over what people are posting comes straight from Beijing. Back in April, China’s Internet regular forced the site to close its comments section over what they described as “rumor mongering”.
In order to keep track of who the troublemakers are and how much questionable content they’re posting to the site, Sina Weibo will utilize a point system to track offending activity. Each time you break a rule, points will be deduced from your total. Once you reach a certain level, you will no longer have access to your account.
“It’s unclear how it will be implemented. If they do want to kiss up to Beijing, they could target posts related to internal politics,” Doug Young, a Chinese media expert from Fudan University in Shanghai, explained to CNN.
Over the past few years, Chinese authorities have effectively shut down 16 websites that they feel are responsible for spreading rumors against the country. During this period, six people have been detained for allegedly spreading such falsehoods across the Internet.