China's Sina to step-up censorship of Weibo

BEIJING Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:01pm IST

The logo of Sina Corp's Chinese microblog website ''Weibo'' is seen on a screen in this photo illustration taken in Beijing September 13, 2011. REUTERS/Stringer

The logo of Sina Corp's Chinese microblog website ''Weibo'' is seen on a screen in this photo illustration taken in Beijing September 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

Inside the Peshawar school

Inside the Peshawar school

The aftermath inside the Pakistan school where at least 132 students and nine staff members were killed by Taliban gunmen.  Pictures 

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's biggest micro-blog operator, Sina Corp, is enhancing self-censorship to stamp out "rumours" as it copes with explosive growth in user numbers, its chief executive Charles Chao said, according to a news report on Monday.

Chao said the Sina's "Weibo" microblogging site had over 200 million registered users by the end of June who were sending out up to 75 million comments and messages every day, the China News Service reported.

Chinese officials have voiced worries about the feverish growth of microblogs, which can be used to send information and comments unwelcome to the ruling Communist Party's censors, and Chao said he was listening to the worries about false "rumours" spreading across the Internet with lightning speed.

"Because sometimes rumours can spread too quickly, Sina is now establishing more mechanisms to quash rumours through a variety of channels," Chao told an industry forum in Beijing on Sunday.

"There is a lot of false news on Weibo, and there are also many rumours, and this is creating a big challenge for government management and is also a huge challenge for vendors on our platform," said Chao, adding that rumours are magnified on Weibo due to the large audience.

Chinese microblogs carry plenty of celebrity gossip and harmless fare. But they also offer forums for lambasting officials and reporting unrest or official abuses, and Beijing is worried about their potential to erode the party's authority and stoke popular discontent, even protest.

China blocks popular foreign sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and uses filters and monitoring to block unwelcome comment on domestic Internet sites.

But a stream of warnings in state media has exposed how nervous Beijing is about the booming microblogs, and analysts have said stricter regulation could be coming.

These microblogs allow users to issue bursts of opinion -- a maximum of 140 Chinese characters -- that can spread through chains of followers who instantly receive messages.

Chao said stamping out "rumours" could demand a firmer regulatory framework.

"From this perspective, the basic point for protecting what we call healthy order on microblogs lies in sounds laws and regulations and upgrading legal enforcement," he said.

(Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Ken Wills and Ed Lane)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

26/11 Accused

26/11 Accused

Pakistan to appeal bail for Mumbai attack "mastermind".  Full Article 

Android For cars

Android For cars

Exclusive: Google aiming to go straight into car with next Android – sources.  Full Article 

Mass Stabbing

Mass Stabbing

Eight children killed in Australia in reported mass stabbing.  Full Article 

In Distress

In Distress

Former SpiceJet owner leading rescue plan: reports.  Full Article 

PM's Moves

PM's Moves

Modi moves in to speed up $300 billion stuck projects.  Full Article 

Losing Popularity

Losing Popularity

Dalai Lama's star waning in the West, China official says.  Full Article 

Tis' The Season

Tis' The Season

Stars around the world wish you Happy Holidays.  Video 

Cyber Warfare

Cyber Warfare

For N.Korea's cyber army, long-term target may be telecoms, utility grids.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage