Cyberspace Administration of China Revises Rules for Regulation of Online Comments

China’s cyberspace regulator on Wednesday said it would revise its rules that will require operators of online and social media accounts to strengthen their review and management of comments left on their pages. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement that account operators should set up and improve their systems to review comments, and be ready to report illegal and undesirable information to the regulator.

Public account producers and operators who provide services for follow-up comments are also required to assess the credibility of the account users making those comments, reasonably set up management rights and offer technical support, according to the statement.

The regulator did not specify penalties for rule violations.

In June, CAC proposed an addition to the existing rules, urging platforms to take action against holders of public accounts that disseminate “illegal or bad content”, such as by issuing warnings or deleting their posts, and report such incidents to the regulator in a timely manner.

The original rules date back to 2017.

The announcement comes as Chinese authorities are tightening their policing of the internet and what topics the public is allowed to discuss. Social media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo regularly block or delete posts and comments.

The amendments to existing rules will be effective from December 15, it said.

Earlier this year, the cyberspace regulator stated that rules requiring data exports to undergo security reviews would be effective from September 1, the first time it had issues a start date for a new regulatory framework that would affect hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese companies.

The details of a new compulsory security review to be carried out by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which would be used to determine whether large quantities of Chinese user data in the possession of a private entity can be sent overseas, were also finalised and published by the regulator it had announced in a statement on its official WeChat account at the time.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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