(Feb. 23, 2018) On February 2, 2018, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released the Provisions on Administration of Microblog Information Services (the Provisions), which will take effect on March 20, 2018. The Provisions were formulated with the goal of promoting the healthy and orderly development of microblog information services, protecting the lawful rights and interests of citizens, and preserving national security and public interests. (Weiboke Xinxi Fuwu Guanli Guiding (Feb. 2, 2018), CAC website; Provisions on Administration of Microblog Information Services (Feb. 2, 2018), China Law Translate website (unofficial English translation).)
According to the Provisions, the term “microblog” refers to social network services used primarily for information distribution and acquisitions, mainly in the form of short words, pictures, and videos. (Id. art. 2.) The Provisions also clarify the definitions of “microblog service provider,” “microblog service user,” and “microblog information service.” (Id.)
The Provisions establish the various responsibilities of microblog service providers and microblog service users. According to the Provisions, the microblog service providers are required to
- obtain relevant credentials as provided by laws and regulations (id. art. 4);
- establish complete and comprehensive systems for registering users; verifying published information; managing posts, comments, and emergency responses; and providing education and training for practitioners (id. art. 6);
- implement a “chief editor system” (id.);
- establish platform service rules and sign service agreements with microblog service users (id.);
- verify and periodically confirm microblog service users’ real identities (id. art. 7);
- ensure the security of microblog service users’ information (id.);
- establish and complete mechanisms for dispelling and refuting rumors (id. art. 11);
- not use microblogs to publish or disseminate information that is prohibited by laws and regulations (id. art. 12);
- accept public supervision and establish effective portals for complaints and reports (id. art. 14);
- obey relevant state laws and regulations; cooperate with relevant supervisory, management, and law enforcement authorities; and provide necessary technical support and assistance (id. art. 16); and
- keep records of microblog service users’ log information and preserve it for at least six months (id.).
Microblog service users, on the other hand, are required to
- sign service agreements with microblog service providers (id. art. 6),
- provide valid identification materials conforming to their authentication information when applying for upfront real-name verified accounts (id. art. 8), and
- not use microblogs to publish or disseminate information that is prohibited by laws and regulations (id. art. 12).
According to the CAC, the promulgation of the Provisions is a step toward implementing and enforcing the PRC Cybersecurity Law. (Guojia Hunlianwang Xinxi Bangongshi Youguan Fuzeren Jiu Weiboke Xinxi Fuwu Guanli Guiding Da Jizhe Wen [CAC Answers Questions Raised by Reporters with Respect to the Provisions on Administration of Microblog Information Services], CAC website.)
Prepared by Yichao Zhang, Law Library intern, under the supervision of Laney Zhang, Senior Foreign Law Specialist.