Is quora banned in China 2

Social media platforms require registration with real names

After the introduction of the Chinese law on network security in June, an increasing number of social media platforms are requiring registration with real names.

Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website similar to Quora, issued a statement on Tuesday asking users to verify their accounts with their cell phone numbers. Anyone who does not comply can no longer publish any content.

China requires private users to use their SIM card registered with a real name on their phones by June 30th. Therefore, checking accounts with cell phone numbers is equivalent to registering with real names.

Zhihu promised to provide "the highest level of protection" for users' privacy. “We encourage our users to share their knowledge and experience and to respect different opinions. But we don't want our product to be misused as a platform for spreading rumors, defamation or the publication of improper materials. “If disputes arise over improper content, Zhihu will provide the judicial authorities with personal information.

According to Zhihu, in accordance with China's network security law, the rules state that an Internet operator should encourage its users to reveal their real identity before publishing content and instant messages.

In addition to Zhihu, China's leading search engine Baidu has also encouraged users of the company's services, including the popular online forum Baidu Tieba and the cloud storage service, to register with their real identities before June, otherwise they will be denied access to the services.

Meanwhile, online gamers in China have had to register with their real identities since May. Online game operators must prohibit unregistered users from making in-game purchases.

The widespread real name registration requirement has raised information security concerns for some Internet users.

Security experts said that the real name system could be exploited by hackers because they steal registration information from Internet platforms and sell it for a profit.

A report by internet security monitoring platform butian.360.cn in March found that in 2016 a total of 58.5 percent of websites had loopholes that harbored the risk of personal information being disclosed - a total of 4.2 billion.

Some internet users have also filed complaints against the real name system as it restricts their freedom of speech online.

Wang Sixin, professor of media law and regulation at the University of Communications in China, said this move is the latest effort by cyberspace authorities to tighten regulation of online platforms. The purpose is not to control Internet users, but to better regulate Internet operators in the management of online information.

Qin An, a cyber security expert at the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, said that the real name system is aimed at regulating the Internet. It could carry the risk of information being passed on, but the government - under threat of heavy penalties - also obliged the operators to carry out their tasks.

The law states that network operators are prohibited from disclosing, changing or damaging the personal data they have collected. You may not pass on personal data to third parties without first obtaining the consent of the data subjects.