Ever since the Chinese governmentâ€™s temporary ban on its comment feature, SinaWeibo, the Chinese Twitter homologue, has been devising new terms and conditions to help verify usersâ€™ identity and eliminate forbidden forms of communication.
Among other things, users should not send messages that â€œspread rumors, disrupt social order, and destroy societal stabilityâ€ or that â€œcall for disruption of social order through illegal gatherings, formation of organizations, protests, demonstrations, mass gatherings and assembliesâ€, according to an anonymous translation of the new Sina Weibu Community Convention .
According to an earlier TNW report, the platform itself and members of the public reunited as a â€œcommunity committeeâ€ will supervise implementation of the new regulations to come into effect today. According to the Community Convention, â€œthe Site will directly deal with behavior in clear violation of regulations; other regulation violating behavior will be dealt after the community committee makes a determination.â€ The â€œcommunity committeeâ€ will act as a true peopleâ€™s tribunal as regular members will â€œpass decisions on conflicts between usersâ€, while expert members will â€œdetermine if information is trueâ€.
The new regulations also introduce a â€œcredit scoreâ€ assessment system in which inappropriate conduct is to be penalized by deducting points. In early May, Marbridge Daily reported that each Sina account gets an 80-point initial credit, while also being able to go up to 100 points if the user engages in promotional activities for the microblogging platform. Accounts dropping under the 60 point threshold get a â€œLow creditâ€ warning, while 0 credit triggers cancellation.
Despite the regulations strictly forbidding the use of â€œoblique expression or other methods to get around the [â€¦] restrictionsâ€, commentators count on usersâ€™ ingenuity to avoid censorship.Â “This is a sign of the authorities trying to restrain the internet in China, but a hardcore group of people will still find ways to get round the restraints,” said Dr Kerry Brown, head of the Asia Programme at the Chatham House think tank, in an exclusive statement for the BBC.