Sina Weibo is looking to reassure Beijing of its commitment to regulating what is shared on its service. (Photo/CFP)
Sina Weibo, the most popular local equivalent of Twitter in China, on Monday implemented a new management system and a community pact as well as a user credit points system. A user who makes a cumulative total of five sensitive posts will be banned from tweeting for 48 hours and the post will be deleted, while a user who is judged to have maliciously posted sensitive content will be banned for 48 hours and may have their account closed down, according to our Chinese-language sister newspaper China Times.
"Hazardous content" is divided into three categories: information endangering national and social security, spam and pornographic content, according to the latest community regulations.
Information deemed to endanger national and social security breaks down further into nine categories, including information harmful to national unity, leaking state secrets, endangering state security, inciting ethnic hatred, promoting superstition related to cults, spreading rumors and stirring up illegal assemblies and demonstrations.
Peng Xiaoyun, a member of the Sina Weibo community committee, said that if an online society such as Sina has no standards, its content will decline, "just like a pit, it will be filled with messy stuff," according to the BBC's Chinese-language website.
Peng also believes that the definition of what constitutes sensitive and false content is still very vague, therefore the committee needs to strive for clearer explanations.
The committee is set up by internet users, and includes an expert panel of 484 members and a common committee with 5,000 members. Internet portal Sina has said it will join with the management group of Weibo, which is a spin-off of the larger company, to manage the microblogging community.
The move is being seen as an attempt by the company to show authorities that they are actively cooperating with official requirements to strengthen their supervision of the flow of information on their service. Media experts from Fudan University in Shanghai said the intention is to ease Beijing's concerns about the spread of rumors over the internet.