Have You Heard? If You Spread 'Hurtful' Rumors In China, You'll Be Thrown Off The Internet For Years

from the blatantly-attacking-revolutionary-martyrs dept

The Chinese authorities really don't like rumors being spread. Back in 2012, Techdirt reported on a "five strikes and you're out" plan for throwing rumormongers off social media for 48 hours. That obviously didn't work too well, since in 2013 a tougher line was introduced: three years in prison if you get 500 retweets of a "hurtful" rumor. But even that doesn't seem to have achieved its aim, judging by this post on Caixin Live about yet another law aimed at stamping out rumors:

A draft regulation released for public comment on July 22 by the Cyberspace Administration of China proposes restricting the internet access of users and providers of online information services that "fabricate, publish, or spread information that violates public morality, business ethics, or good faith" or deliberately provide technological assistance to those who do so.

Blacklisted individuals would be forbidden from using the Web or online services for three years. They would also be restricted from working in the Internet industry for that period. Depending on "whether the individual rectifies their behavior and prevents their disinformation from spreading further", that term could be reduced, or extended by up to three more years.

This isn't the only recent initiative to stamp out those hurtful messages. Last year, a platform called "Piyao" -- which means " to refute a rumor" -- was launched. It is a Web site and mobile app, and designed to spot "untrue rumors" with the help of AI and members of the public, who can report any bad stuff they've come across. According to Reuters, a promotional video released at the launch of the site warned:

Rumours violate individual rights; rumours create social panic; rumours cause fluctuations in the stock markets; rumours impact normal business operations; rumours blatantly attack revolutionary martyrs.

Terrible things, these rumors. Pity they seem a perennial part of the online world -- however much the Chinese authorities might try to eradicate them.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter, Diaspora, or Mastodon.

Filed Under: censorship, china, free speech


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  • identicon
    Bobvious, 6 Aug 2019 @ 3:35pm

    Rumors

    Well then, Fleetwood Mac might need to be worried. In fact, I think theyr'e in trouble.

    Or so I've heard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 6 Aug 2019 @ 3:37pm

    Nobody tell Trump about this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2019 @ 4:24pm

    "rumours cause fluctuations in the stock markets"

    Well then, everyone on wallstreet would be out of a job if implemented here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2019 @ 12:27pm

      Re:

      It just came to me how in one of those cyberpunk tabletop RPGs, not sure if it was Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020, someone was guilty of economic terrorism for giving cookies away.

      It's frightening how these things end up being reality...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Margnetic (profile), 6 Aug 2019 @ 4:34pm

    Margnetic

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2019 @ 4:44pm

    Their system is so ripe for gaming. Target people in positions of power and surround them with factors that might reduce their score. Low scoring individuals will be incentived by offerings to function outside the control system, this provides avenue for organized group to use them to target others whose reputation they would like to tank.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Aug 2019 @ 5:19pm

      Re:

      I'm pretty sure that's one of the 'benifites' of the system. Anyone who's actually important will be inocculated against this. And anyone rising in power who isn't already on the 'good person, don't punish' list will only be able to rise so far before a bad actor pulls them down

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Waitman (profile), 6 Aug 2019 @ 7:25pm

    Rumors

    I heard Keqiang is into gerbilling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MatsSvensson (profile), 7 Aug 2019 @ 3:37am

    Spellcheck

    Whatever you do,
    don't spell it:
    "Vinny the poo"!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Aug 2019 @ 5:06am

    Nothing new here

    China has had censorship laws with draconian penalties for thousands of years. The only new thing about this is the adaptation (or attempt to) of ancient legislation to modern technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Aug 2019 @ 9:14am

    Gee, that sounds kinda similar to cloudflare kicking 8chan off its service along with various other deplatformings of recent years. And before any usual twat chimes in with "But muh private business platforms!11!!1", when the end results are the same, it doesn't matter what you claim about how you got there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Aug 2019 @ 3:22pm

      Re:

      Absolutely, just like that... if the platforms in question were capable of barring people from not just using their services but all online platforms and/or services online.

      Why, it's almost like there is a difference between a single company kicking someone off their platform and a government stepping in and barring someone from the internet entirely...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 8 Aug 2019 @ 5:12am

      Re:

      "And before any usual twat chimes in with "But muh private business platforms!11!!1", when the end results are the same, it doesn't matter what you claim about how you got there."

      And when the end result isn't the same - as in your bad analogy - then it DOES matter.

      If cloudflare kicks 8chan off it's network then there are a dozen other providers and several dozen options for 8chan to still be visible and reachable.

      When GOVERNMENT mandates the kickoff it means 8chan will actually be illegal and anyone allowing them online presence will do jail time.

      See the difference? Or were you just trying to grind an axe on Big Tech being mean because the guys who own a platform refuses to carry racists and bigots?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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