Internet group chats and information released from online public accounts will be further regulated under two new rules released by the Cyberspace Administration of China on Sept 7.
Group chats regulated include those on WeChat, QQ, weibo and other forms of social media that provide group information exchanges.
Also targeted by the regulations are public accounts on internet platforms like weibo, question-and-answer website Zhihu.com and livestreaming providers Inke and Yizhibo.
The administration said it issued the regulations to better develop China’s online environment, protect the legal rights of Chinese netizens and online organizations, and safeguard national security and the public interest.
The regulations on group chats and public accounts will take effect on Oct 8, the administration said in a news release.
The new rules say service providers for online group chats should clarify the responsibility of users, and identify and avoid the leakage of users’ personal information. Safety flaws and loopholes that create risks should be found and remedied in a timely manner.
The administration also suggests that service providers build a credit rating and blacklist system to strengthen management and supervision of group chats. Public supervision is also encouraged.
Groups that release illegal information like pornographic, violent, terrorism-related or false information will see group chats closed or suspended and the group’s founder will receive punishment from the service provider, who will lower their credit rating, suspend management rights or put the founder’s name on a blacklist.
The public account regulation encourages information releases by private organizations, authorized personal accounts, organizations that are legally registered and governmental public service departments.
Service providers of public accounts should improve their management system and the responsibility of information providers should be clarified, the new rules state.
They also say that while cyberspace has enriched people’s lives, phenomena such as the spreading of rumors, the use of vulgar or otherwise uncivilized words and the posting of illegal information have emerged and created disorder.
“I’m looking forward to the implementation of the two new regulations. The internet is virtually full of fake news, advertisements, gossip and vulgar information. Now is the time to clean up cyberspace,” said Hero, a netizen on Sina Weibo.
The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center of the administration says 3.67 million complaints about possible problematic information were received in June, up 42.2 percent year-on-year.