China’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), on Friday revised existing rules for posting messages and comments on the internet.
The new rules were published last week in a document titled, “Provisions on the Administration of Internet Thread Commenting Services.” The proposed revisions tighten up the Regulation ‘Provisions governing the management of Internet postal comment services’, which first entered into force in 2017.
Under the new concept, any company or individual operating a website in China must hire a review and editing team appropriate to the size of the services to improve the professional quality of reviews and editors.
The new comment moderators will be required to review each comment before it is published online and report any potentially illegal and bad information to the Chinese government in a timely manner.
The proposed design also mentions the penalty associated with violations. Previously, the regulation only stated that “relevant authorities would take action against service providers who violate the rules, in accordance with relevant laws and regulations”.
Under the new rules, commenting service providers that do not comply with the regulation will face warnings, fines in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, suspension of the commenting function, or even the entire service and other measures .
Likewise, any user who breaks the rules will be warned, banned from commenting, asked to delete their comments, or have their account suspended or deactivated.
In addition, any website that social media users can comment on must collect their real names and verify their identities before they can leave comments. Any user who does not authenticate their real identity information will not get the post comment service from the website.
The new rule revisions are open to public feedback until July 1, 2022.
It is not the first time that the Chinese government has tried to tighten its grip on the internet. Last year, it passed a law that prohibits online gamers under the age of 18 from playing games for more than three hours a week.
Many popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and more as well as other famous sites and streaming services like Google, Netflix, Gmail, BBC and more are too blocked in China.