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Chinese expected to brush off real name registration for Twitter-like sites

Michael Kan | Feb. 13, 2012
By March 16, users of China's Twitter-like microblogging sites will be required to register with their real names in a government effort to stop harmful information from spreading on social media sites. But to Beijing resident Cao Hong, it's clear what authorities' real intentions are.

One Internet user whose surname is Mo, said in an interview he disagreed with the new real name regulations, but added, "I can't say I won't use my account. I just think it's wrong. If other relevant government departments decide to do the same, I can only say that this is China."

Another user of China's Twitter-like services, whose surname is Gao, said many people were to used to having a level of anonymity on the site. Gao himself, however, doesn't plan to leave Sina Weibo. "Why would I leave my microblog? If I leave, where will I go?"

"Will these regulations affect my freedom of speech? We never had any to begin with," he added.

One of China's largest Twitter-like services is run by local company Sina. Despite the December announcement of the regulations, user growth on Sina's Twitter-like platform has continued to increase, said company spokesman Liu Qi, without providing exact figures.

Sina is still talking with authorities to fully understand Beijing's regulations, but the company expects user growth will continue even with the real-name registration system implemented, Liu said.

But while Sina expects users to remain attracted to its service, Chinese Internet user Liu Zhidi, however, won't be among them.

"Of course I'm going to stop using it," she said in an interview. "Microblogs should allow users to speak freely. Why must there be a real-name system? There's no need for it."

 

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