Microbloggers must register their ID card number to microblog service providers under new 'real name' web regulations. Photo: Penn-olson.com
In mid-May, the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe demanded Google clean up its auto-complete function, because it generates results that are offensive and defamatory. The new rule for Google Search is said to be a milestone that marks Germany's first efforts to regulate its Internet services.
Many countries are trying to regulate their Internet services. Under pressure from public opinion, many well-known websites are becoming more self-disciplined. For example, Facebook has started to provide training for its website regulators to help identify and delete inappropriate remarks. In Turkey, where chaos and turmoil are running rampant, the Turkish government criticized social media as the top threat. Similar denouncements have also been heard from the British Parliament.
The variety of Internet content and its various developments in different social contexts are making the Internet a "no man's land" where a uniform regulatory policy cannot be formed. Different countries have to choose different policies according to their own actual needs to protect their public interests.
Many countries have taken multiple approaches to make sure the Internet supports the public interest.
The Internet, to some extent, has been part of the process through which Chinese society seeks "democracy" and "diversity," in which it produces many effects that cannot be simply judged as right or wrong.
Some claim that any regulation of the Internet is an anti-democratic effort. This deceptive voice has gained support from Western public opinion, which makes China's regulation of the Internet encounter more resistance than in other countries.
China's mainstream society needs to form a firm consensus that such regulation is necessary for Chinese society.
Finding ways to take concrete regulatory approaches that appeal to the broad masses is what really matters. Considering the complexity of public opinion, this is the most difficult part of Internet regulation. People are starting to understand the necessity of Internet regulation when they are publicly informed of some major measures and actions in advance, thanks to more transparent approaches.
Most Chinese are looking forward to free speech on the Internet, while at the same time are expecting an orderly social environment. People already understand that free speech can not go against social order. Internet regulation is not only an embodiment of the government's will, but is also laid on the foundation of the public interest.
Through the Internet, Chinese people are becoming more knowledgeable about democracy and freedom. Although this virtual community has bred some political and moral traps, Internet regulation has to be carried out until those spreading adverse remarks fear the strength of the public interest.