China's Sina will not force users to register with real names

Sina's Twitter-like service has over 250 million registered users

One of China's most popular Twitter-like services, Sina Weibo, said it needs better systems to stop harmful rumors on the site, but doesn't intend to force its users to register with their real names.

"On an overall basis, it's going to be difficult for China to implement a real-name system, because all this infrastructure is not ready," said Charles Chao, CEO of Sina, the company behind the service.

Chao made the comments during a Wednesday earnings call as Chinese authorities have stepped up demands for a crackdown on online rumors circulating on sites like Sina Weibo, which now has more than 250 million registered users.

Since launching in 2009, Sina Weibo has risen to become a major forum for public opinion. China, however, strictly regulates the Internet, censoring anti-government or politically sensitive content. In recent months, authorities have begun targeting alleged rumors on Sina Weibo, going as far as detaining users who fabricated them, and shutting down their accounts.

"There is no question Weibo has become very essential in China," Chao said, acknowledging that the site has become a tool for users to report news and share their views. Government agencies have also realized this and have started to open accounts on the site in order to communicate with the public, he added.

Rumors have however been spread on the site, and have attacked people and businesses, Chao said. "There will be a need for a better management system of the Weibo platform," he said.

While Chao did not refer to any specific rumors, analysts have said a prime example involved the Red Cross Society of China, which saw its reputation damaged after a Chinese woman lied and said she had ties with the group. The woman had initially used her account to flaunt her wealth, prompting Chinese Internet users to speculate that the Red Cross Society had been allowing employees to misuse donated money.

To help fight online rumors, Sina Weibo has been encouraging, rather than requiring, its "grassroots" users with large followers to switch to verified accounts, which display the users' real names. Sina currently has 800,000 of these users registered with verified accounts, and the company is targeting 1.2 million verified users by the end of the year.

Most of Sina Weibo's users come from China's largest cities, Chao later said. A large number are students in colleges or high school. In the future, the company plans to try and attract more residents in smaller cities.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags business issuesInternet-based applications and servicesGovernment use of ITregulationsocial networkingfinancial resultsSina Corpgovernmentsocial mediainternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?