Online groups in China regulated with latest cyber rules

A WeChat logo is displayed inside TIT Creativity Industry Zone where Tencent office is located in Guangzhou, China, on May 9, 2017.  Group chats regulated include those on WeChat, QQ, Weibo and other forms of social media that provide group informati
A WeChat logo is displayed inside TIT Creativity Industry Zone where Tencent office is located in Guangzhou, China, on May 9, 2017. Group chats regulated include those on WeChat, QQ, Weibo and other forms of social media that provide group information exchanges.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - Administrators of online groups in China should manage their groups properly, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on Thursday (Sept 7), Xinhua news agency reported.

Group chats regulated include those on WeChat, QQ, Weibo and other forms of social media that provide group information exchanges, according to China Daily.

Also targeted by the regulations are public accounts on Internet platforms such as Weibo, question-and-answer website Zhihu.com and live-streaming 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 organisations, and safeguard national security and the public interest, China Daily reported.

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 such as pornographic, violent, terrorism-related and false information, will see group chats closed or suspended and the group's founder will receive punishment from the service provider, who will lower its credit rating, suspend management rights or put the founder's name on a blacklist, China Daily reported.

The public account regulation encourages information releases by private organisations, authorised personal accounts, organisations that are legally registered and government 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 rumours, the use of vulgar or otherwise uncivilised 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, as quoted by China Daily.

The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre of the administration says 3.67 million complaints about possible problematic information were received in June, an increase of up 42.2 per cent year-on-year.

On Tuesday, a man from east China's Anhui Province was given a five-day administrative detention for using abusive language towards the local police in a group on WeChat, Xinhua reported.