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.

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Filed Under: censorship, china, free speech


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