Provisions on the Administration of Microblog Information Services (Mainland China)

Joline Chen

To promote the healthy and orderly development of microblog information services, protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, and safeguard national security and public interest, the State Internet Information Office promulgated the Provisions on the Administration of Microblog Information Services” (the “Provisions”), which came into effect on March 20, 2018.  Consisting of 18 articles, the Provisions cover the principal liabilities of the microblog service providers, authentication of true identity information, tiered and categorized management, rumor-dispelling mechanisms, industry self-discipline, social supervision, and administrative management, among other matters.  The Provisions are highlighted below:

1. The Provisions define microblogs as social networking services which implement a follower system to realize the dissemination and acquisition of information by the use of primarily short texts, pictures and videos to disseminate and obtain information. The National Internet Information Office is responsible for the supervision, administration, and enforcement of the microblog information services throughout the country, and the local Internet information offices are responsible for the supervision and administration of microblog information services within its administrative areas.

2. A microblog service provider refers to an entity that provides microblog platform services. It is required to obtain the relevant qualifications required under laws and regulations and conduct regular verification of the true identity information, such as the organization code, National ID card number, mobile phone number, provided by its users; information posting services shall be denied to users who do not provide true identity information.

3. A microblog service provider shall, in accordance with the principle of tiered and categorized management, formulate specific management systems and provide corresponding services based on the type of microblog service users, the contents they post, the number of followers, and credit ratings, and it shall file for recordation of such information with the Internet information offices on the level of state, province, autonomous region and municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council.

4. A microblog service provider shall set up sound rumor-dispelling mechanisms. If new technology is adopted or if any update is made to add an application or function which enable discussion of news or social mobilization capabilities, it shall be reported to the Internet information office on the level of state, province, autonomous region and municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the State Council for security assessment.

5. Microblog service providers shall voluntarily submit to social supervision, set up a convenient way to submit complaints, handle public complaints in a timely manner, record the daily information posts made by its users and retain such information for not less than six months.