More Control Over Weibo (China’s Twitter)

Via the BBC:  China’s Weibo microblog introduces user contracts

Users are reported to start with 80 points – they gain more by taking part in promotional activities, but lose points if they break any of the rules.

It is reported that if a subscriber’s points fell below 60 a "low credit" warning would appear on their microblog, leading to the possible cancellation of their account if it hit zero. If they "behaved" for two consecutive months their score is reported to return to 80.

"This is a sign of the authorities trying to restrain the internet in China, but a hardcore group of people will still find ways to get round the restraints," Dr Kerry Brown, head of the Asia Programme at the Chatham House think tank, told the BBC.

I wonder how much manpower it will take to maintain such a system.   Granted, a lot of it can be automated, but the rules don’t sound to me like something that could applied simply via keywords and algorithms:

The "community convention" says its members may not use the service to:

  • Spread rumours
  • Publish untrue information
  • Attack others with personal insults or libellous comments
  • Oppose the basic principles of China’s constitution
  • Reveal national secrets
  • Threaten China’s honour
  • Promote cults or superstitions
  • Call for illegal protests or mass gatherings

It adds that members must not use "oblique expressions or other methods" to circumvent the rules.

Heck, if we applied those rules in the US, the intertubes might be reduced to napping kitties and a few stats blogs…

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. At least in America, we have the illusion of freedom.

  2. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    In a country of 1.however many billion people, the labor intensity of the task may not be as much of a problem as we would imagine.

    Back in the early 80s, two friends of mine who owned a small engineering company were contracted to build the first (?? maybe not, but I believe it may have been) frozen food processing plant in the interior of China. At some point, they arrived at the point where they were going to need to raise a ventilation stack (or smoke stack) that was several hundred feet tall. They talked to their government facilitator and translator about moving a crane onto the site to lift the stack in place. He told them that was impossible–not only was no crane of such size available in the province, or surrounding provinces for that matter, but also there was no road or rail line capable of transporting the crane to the site. The translator asked if it could be done with man power, ropes and pulleys.

    My friends told him that they didn’t see how–it was certainly possible, but it would take in excess of 3000 men and 15000 feet of rope.

    The translator replied, we can get that for you. Will two days be ok? The crew on site commenced building the necessary scaffolding that day.