The CEO of China’s Weibo told users on Friday that China may require them to publish their identities on their accounts to restrict anonymity for online commentators on politics and finance.
Concerns over increasing restrictions and government inspection of the internet in China provided the context for Wang Gaofei’s remarks, which were posted on his microblogging site, the Chinese counterpart of X.
Several high-profile Weibo users have reported recently that individuals with one million or more followers who comment on political, entertainment, or financial topics will soon be required to give their real identities. They did not reveal the source of the directives. China’s cyberspace authority has been silent on the matter.
A user first noticed Wang’s identity on his account, which prompted him to explain that he was beta-testing the new policy.
“Long-time followers (of my account) all know that I try first to use new functions myself,” stated the author. Wang, who has 957,000 followers on the site, suggested that the new real-name requirement may be expanded to individuals with half a million or more followers. In addition, he recommended that anybody who didn’t agree with the policy might unfollow him.
Most of China’s media industry is subject to strict government regulation; however, in recent years, well-known bloggers or tiny, independent media companies known as “zimeiti” have emerged, typically specializing in particular fields and gaining a sizable viewership and significant sway.
China’s internet authority has launched a multi-pronged assault to get a handle on this activity, including the closure of numerous such blogs and fines on social media sites for failing to take enough action.