Weibo users breach online ethics

By Jiang Yabin Source:Global Times Published: 2013-11-14 1:08:02

Over 100,000 user accounts on microblogging platform Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, faced penalties for breach of the Sina Weibo Community Convention that includes spreading false information and harassment, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Wednesday.

Data from the Beijing Internet Association shows that 75,267 accounts were found to have verbally attacked other people and 1,030 accounts have spread false information.

Over 10,000 accounts were involved in harassing others and 9,246 have plagiarized from other users, revealed other people's personal information or assumed another person's identity.

The data was collected regularly between August 12 and November 8, according to a person in charge of Sina Weibo's Community Convention, who spoke to Global Times on Wednesday on condition of anonymity, and said that there was no specific campaign from the company to crack down on misbehavior.

Sina had framed China's first Internet community convention in May 2012 in an effort to curb online rumors and guide user ethics.

According to the convention, a post with false information, if reposted over 100 times, would lead to the suspension for seven days of the account of the user who originally posted the information and loss of five "credit points." If the post is reposted over 1,000 times, the original account would be suspended for 15 days with 10 "credit points" lost.

The system allows Sina to measure a user's credibility. An account will be permanently deleted when a user's credit point touches zero, the Sina Weibo employee said.

According to Hu Yadong, one of the management staff of the convention, Sina has established a committee to supervise Internet behavior, whose members come from volunteered Net users.

The system will automatically select a fixed number of committee members to make the judgment on whether to impose penalty on a user who violated the convention. A separate group of experts will review the appeals of the punished users if they find the judgment unfair, according to Hu.

 Sina's Community Convention is in line with a regulation jointly issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate in September, which made online defamation a "serious" offense if one rumor is read 5,000 times or reposted over 500 times.

The new regulation would put people who start rumors under charges from the Criminal Law, which could lead them to three years in jail.

Since the enactment of the convention, Sina has received about 1.5 million reports of online misconduct, removed over 1 million pornographic posts and deducted credit points from over 200,000 user accounts, the Beijing Youth Daily reported in June.

Liu Sha contributed to this story

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