- China will soon be able to review any comment before it is published on social media.
- China’s internet watchdog released draft rules on Friday and called on platforms to monitor comments.
- Social media users are concerned that the rules may further restrict what they can post online.
China will soon be able to review any comment before it is published on social media, raising fears of further censorship in a country that is already one of the world’s most restrictive media environments†
On Friday, the Chinese internet watchdog published a new set of draft rules on its website, instructing content platforms to review all online comments before they are published and to report any “illegal and bad information” found to authorities.
The new rules are designed to “protect national security and public interests and protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens,” the post said, adding that the public can provide feedback on the regulations by July 1.
While the regulations have yet to be implemented, Chinese social media users have already expressed concerns that their online space for free speech will be further eroded. According to the South China Morning PostIn China, draft rules are “usually adopted without major revisions.”
On the Twitter-like Weibo platform, the hash “Comments are reviewed first and then published” has received more than 35.2 million views.
“I can’t imagine what it will be like to see only one particular voice (of opinion). Will people think that in real life there is only one single voice?” one Weibo user wrote.
Content Platforms in China actively censor online posts who are critical of government, or are deemed politically or culturally sensitive — like messages lament the food shortages in Shanghai amid the city’s brutal Covid lockdown.
However, online responses are traditionally less closely monitored, according to the MIT Technology Review†
Without providing details, the outlet said there have recently been “some tough cases where comments under government Weibo accounts became rogue, pointing to government lies or rejecting the official story.”
Earlier this month, one of China’s most famous influencers, Li Jiaqi, said, went off the air abruptly when he promoted a tank-shaped ice cream just a day before the heavily censored’s birthday 1989 Tiananmen Massacre† However, like Insider previously reportedsome of his fans still managed to hint at the historic event in online comments on Weibo.