Net celebrities to uphold virtues

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-8-12 0:03:01

Internet celebrities in China are being urged by authorities to shoulder more social responsibilities and uphold national interests in a bid to promote virtues, as Internet platforms, especially social media, have become a key channel to get information.

Influential social network users including professors, businessmen and Internet industry tycoons discussed how to establish an orderly virtual society during a meeting held by the State Internet Information Office (SIIO) on Saturday. 

Many attendees have millions of followers on social networks and often exert notable influence on public opinions. "They are expected to deliver more positive messages to Chinese Net users," said Lu Wei, director of the SIIO.

Lu added that celebrities should uphold legal and moral rules and promote social trust, in an effort to set an example to protect the legal rights of Net users.

"Any activities that would harm the reputation and interests of others should be denounced," Lu said.

Social networks have become increasingly influential in China, with more than 1.2 billion accounts opened on over 100 microblogging services.

However, rumor, defamation and fake news are easily spread due to a lack of punishment mechanisms and regulations.

The attendees also reached a consensus that it is crucial to verify the credibility of information before reposting or commenting hastily.

"Celebrities are expected to be careful to comment on topics they are not familiar with," said Zhang Zhi'an, associate professor at the School of Communication and Design at the Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University.

Other agreements reached during the meeting include that posts by celebrities should abide by the law and regulation and that legitimate rights and interests of the citizen should be protected.

Attendees also called for officials to guide the public to distinguish information through logical thinking and to trust the self-correction ability of social media platforms, instead of merely deleting those posts.

"Everyone is an active participant in public events in the Internet society and the public is not a passive object to be simply guided or taught by big names," said Pan Shiyi, chairman of SOHO China, who has 15 million followers on Sina Weibo.

Pan's opinion was echoed by other celebrities that the spreading of positive messages and the establishment of a healthy cyber order rely on the engagement of all Net users, especially to lead people to have rational discussions.

"We need more opinion leaders who can make professional analysis in a certain field, other than simply voicing on isolated events," said Zhang.

Posted in: Society

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