China’s top cyberspace regulator to ban we media frequently exploiting hot topics from increasing followers or making profits
Published: Jul 10, 2023 09:18 PM Updated: Jul 10, 2023 09:15 PM
cyberspace Photo:VCG

cyberspace Photo:VCG

China’s cyberspace authorities will tighten management on we media in a bid to promote the development of a healthy online public opinion environment, with self-media that frequently exploit hot topics to be permanently banned from increasing followers or making profits. 

According to the regulations released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently, websites and online platforms should take measures to prevent the impersonation and counterfeiting behaviors of we media by strengthening the registration and verification process for self-media accounts that involve making changes. 

For accounts that contain names or references to the Party, government organs, military agencies, news media, or administrative divisions, manual verification is required. If any impersonation or counterfeiting is discovered, they shall not be provided with relevant services. 

The cyberspace authorities also required to regulate account operation behaviors and prohibit the individuals or companies to manipulate the we-media accounts to publish and disseminate illegal and undesirable information. 

Other operation behaviors that are prohibited include collecting negative information, stirring up old news and events, riding on hot topics, exploiting disasters and accidents, and enticing users to follow other accounts. 

The authorities urge the websites and online platforms to strengthen information verification on we media to prevent re-registration of accounts that have been closed in accordance with the laws and regulations.

The cyberspace authorities will also restrict we media to gain profits from violations. If a website or platform imposes a ban on self-media accounts for violations, their profit-making privileges should be suspended simultaneously, with a duration of two to three times the length of the ban. 

Self-media accounts that create vulgar personas and internet influencers that violate public order and good customs, and engage in malicious marketing by exploiting trending topics through multiple coordinated accounts, websites and platforms will be restricted from profit-making privileges. 

Besides, the authorities demanded to improve the management on followers of we-media accounts. Websites and platforms should promptly verify and remove the increased number of followers that self-media accounts have obtained through violations. 

During the period of being banned, self-media accounts are not allowed to gain new followers, and their past posts should not be featured in key sections such as recommendations or rankings on websites and platforms. 

For self-media accounts that frequently piggyback on social hot topics for attention, they should be permanently prohibited from gaining new followers. In severe cases, all their followers should be cleared. The websites and platforms are prohibited from providing services for transferring followers. 

Meanwhile, the authorities also stressed that websites and platforms should conduct strict verification for self-media engaged in producing information and content in the fields such as finance, education, healthcare, and judiciary, and display the names of certification materials such as service qualifications, occupational qualifications, and professional backgrounds on the accounts’ homepage.

The website platform should require self-media to take responsibility for the authenticity of the information they publish or repost. When self-media publishes information, the website platform should display the self-media account name on the information publishing page and should not use anonymous user names or other substitutes. 

Self-media should not fabricate information, use quotes out of context, distort facts, or use methods such as editing and synthesis to create false content that affects the authenticity of the information. 

In cases involving rumors related to public policies, social livelihood, and major breaking news, website platforms should promptly label them as false information or rumors. 

Moreover, websites and platforms should promptly identify and seriously deal with any violations committed by self-media. Those self-media that create and spread rumors, exploit social hot topics, or engage in the matrix dissemination of illegal and harmful information, causing significant negative impact, should be closed and included in the platforms’ blacklist account database. Such cases should also be reported to the cyberspace authorities. 

Appropriate measures such as disabling interactive features, removing followers, revoking profit-making privileges, imposing bans or even closing the accounts should be taken to deal with self-media that spread rumors. 

Global Times