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New Rules Bring a "Credit Rating" For Users of Chinese Social Network 89

Posted by timothy
from the orwell-was-at-least-fiction dept.
An anonymous reader links this article describing a newly installed set of rules affecting the already put-upon Internet users of China, specifically affecting users of social network Sina Weibo: "Sina Weibo users each will now receive 80 points to begin with, and this can be boosted to a full 100 points by those who provide their official government-issued identification numbers (like Social Security numbers in the U.S.) and link to a cellphone account. Spreading falsehoods will lead to deductions in points, among other penalties. Spreading an untruth to 100 other users will result in a deduction of two points. Spreading it to 100-1,000 other users will result in a deduction of five points, as well as a week's suspension of the account. Spreading it to more than 1,000 other users will result in a deduction of 10 points, as well as a 15-day suspension of the account." The article explains (in truth, not very helpfully) the extent to which users' freedom to talk freely will be curtailed; the long list of what not to do "includes using 'nonconforming' or false images to mislead," "exaggerating events," "presenting already [resolved] events as ongoing," "efforts to incite ethnic tensions and violence and hurt ethnic unity" and "efforts to spread cultist or superstitious thinking; spreading rumors to disrupt social harmony." (And of course the catch-all: "other activities stipulated by authorities.")
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New Rules Bring a "Credit Rating" For Users of Chinese Social Network

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  • by kegon (766647) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:54PM (#40195735)
    You know the one; just cut it out; I'm not going to tell you again.
  • Who decides? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Essequemodeia (1030028) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @03:55PM (#40195751)
    I suppose here if your facts are different than the "official government facts" you're guilty of spreading falsehoods.
    • Will only people who repeat government propaganda have the high scores?

      If your score is above 75, you're probably a government propagandist.

      • Weibo is still a thousand times better than Facebook on any day.
        Less 13 year olds shouting drama about how much their life sucks in random groups. :)
        • by rtb61 (674572)

          Are you kidding. People use social network sites to mostly have fun. What is the point of adding in this kind of rating system when all you will do is make using the social network too much hard work and basically the only safe way to use it, is not to use it. People will simply shift to an easier to use social network.

          • I don't think you quite understand the point of my comment.
            I generally find Weibo far more fun to use cause there is generally a lot less drama and whining going on there. Additionally they didn't bother to hide everything in a 20 layer menu structure like Facebook did. The result is rather easy to use. And frankly if I use a social network site I'm looking for a very specific set of services. I'm not interested in your revolutions, your whining, your political views, ... . If you want to argue about that
      • "Hey, what's your credit rating?"
        "10"
        "So you're a reliable source."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Realize that obtaining objectivity is actually pretty hard. In America, entire cities of people would like to teach that man was created from dirt by a very anthropomorphic all-powerful being, and that the theory of evolution is a direct lie intended to mislead you to a pit of eternal fire. They are pretty angry at governmental regulations that forbid the teachings of what they think is "truth," and require the teaching of what they think is a lie. And yet, equally populous communities of scientifically

      • by Raenex (947668)

        And yet, equally populous communities of scientifically enlightened Americans approve of this governmental regulation of truth, while simultaneously disapproving of the Chinese government doing the same thing.

        That's a nice apology for Chinese-style censorship that tries to make all censorship equal. In the US you can still teach your kids the ancient Hebrew mythology, spread it online, or whatever. You just can't do it as part of public school because public funds are being used and there's the First Amendment which both forbids the latter while protecting the former: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

        It's absolutely true that there's a

  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:01PM (#40195779) Journal
    Someone in China must read /. and decided to adopt the Karma system.
  • Why can't they do this on youtube? And can they include demerits for bad spelling/grammar? Might not be the worst idea.

    Kidding.

    • I almost wish you weren't kidding. There really would be a benefit of a general score of how valuable/useless certain people's comments are. Unfortunately to be most effective, this would require tracking people across sites.
  • When can we implement this Stateside?
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      When can we implement this Stateside?

      What a concept, having friends with 645 or better. My credit rating is -6, I can't imagine what kind and how many friends I'll have. Hopefully, not the Kardashians.

  • by JimCanuck (2474366) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:17PM (#40195861)

    Probably has to do with this ( http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-30/asia/world_asia_china-microblogs-crackdown_1_coup-rumors-coup-attempt-sina-s-weibo?_s=PM:ASIA [cnn.com] )

    Spreading of unfounded rumors of a coup in Beijing on Social media, means more restrictions will come into play. It was to be expected. After all, libel and other forms of lying are illegal in most of the world. So is attempting to incite rebellion illegal in just about every country in the world including China. Its obvious that the Chinese would do something about it eventually.
  • by cvtan (752695) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:21PM (#40195879)
    50 points from Griffindor!!!!!
  • by Dr. Tom (23206) <tomh@nih.gov> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @04:25PM (#40195885) Homepage

    Chinese citizen: I love President Obama and his wife Hillary Clinton. I got a "Clinton" at the Olympics.
    You Americans call that a bj if I recall correctly.

  • Censorship in China is illegal. Since it's illegal, it doesn't happen, so there is no need for a complaint mechanism. Amusing as that line of thinking (or not thinking) is, it isn't as bad as the Conservative government in Canada. Faced with criticism about it's environmental policies, it responded by taking away environmental organisations charitable status. Don't respond to criticism, wipe it out. Maybe that's why Prime Minister Harper refers to his jet as the Death Star.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    CHICOMs

  • by redmid17 (1217076) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:03PM (#40196051)
    And this was one of the countries petitioning the UN for control of the internet....
    • If it's a UN body, they can use their vote/veto to censor anything they don't like.

      They're all about micromanaging what people think, apparently...

  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @05:11PM (#40196093) Homepage Journal
    To avoid censorship (which the Party is attempting to be less ham-fisted with) the "political" comments with the most re-tweets have become more and more sideways. I'd expect the "rewards" system to have to wait until some re-tweet elevates, at which point everyone will be punished retrospectively who re-tweeted it. The evolution of Chinese commentary in social networks is really something.
  • Just try to do what somebody in power defines as:
    1. Deny the holocaust,
    2. Incite homophobia.
    3. Incite racial hatred.
    4. Display child pornography (where in some places e.g. Italy the "child" can mean a 17 years old).
    5. Denigrate the Moslem religion.
    6. Suggest that Homeland Security has been given too much power.

    And in all those cases, truth or consent is NOT a defence!

    And you will find yourself in jail, not just banned from posting for a month.

    • How very interesting. Which one of those do you have a problem with now, citizen? One moment while I write this down...
      </black humor>

      The government having the power to regulate those kinds of speech is preferable to vigilantism. No, that's not a binary choice, but I for one feel strongly enough about certain of those topics to make quite a point of it, if you take my meaning. You can argue against your culture's values, and hope to change them, but on these topics it is important to note that people h

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        1. Discussing the issue within the framework set up by authority when it is the authority that needs changing is not usually workable. That's why rebellions start in the first place. Countries that make criminal offenses out of words that make certain people/groups feel bad have no business calling themselves free.

        2. lobbying. well this is really an example of 1, right? Except of course you have to be wealthy, which 99% of us aren't, and those who are, are the ones using the government to their advantag

        • I would mod you up to 5.

        • So when the "others" being incited against are government agents it is acceptable to disregard the principles upon which we have built our society? Your "love it or leave it" simplifies my statement to the point of absurdity. If you do not like your society, you must act to change it or change your locality -- either is acceptable. It is an obvious statement, if you're not inclined towards willful misinterpretation.

          Your statements only follow each other sequentially, not logically. Please try again. On the

          • "Inciting to harm" should not be a crime. Doing harm is the crime.

              It's like the difference between "assault" and "battery".

            With assault, you are not harmed. At the limit, you feel threatened with harm.
            With battery, there are bruises.

          • by epyT-R (613989)

            So when the "others" being incited against are government agents it is acceptable to disregard the principles upon which we have built our society?

            That's just it. This only happens when the officials disregard these principles first, in ways egregious or hypocritical enough to piss people off. if, in a democracy, a lot of people are ready to go from the ballot box to the ammo box, the government has failed and has been failing for a long time. I realize china isn't a democracy, but perhaps that's part of the problem.

            [c] or move to someplace where your views are tolerated.

            You said 'love it or leave it'. It's quite unambiguous.

            but you should seek to demonstrate that there is greater harm in restricting the individual freedom of speech than restricting the freedom to seek harm to members of your own society.

            Ok, when the law allows lots of/powerful/influential people to dictate what the

            • [c] or move to someplace where your views are tolerated.

              You said 'love it or leave it'. It's quite unambiguous.

              And yet your quoted selection somehow manages to be the third of a list of alternatives, and neither of the first two are "Mindlessly repeat the majority position." Slandering my argument does not improve your position.

              This only happens when the officials disregard [...]

              False. People have been arguing against governments since their inception.

              if, in a democracy, a lot of people are ready to go from the ballot box to the ammo box, the government has failed and has been failing for a long time.

              False. Red herring.

              Ok, when the law allows lots of/powerful/influential people to dictate what the minority can say, it quickly becomes a form of tyranny.

              Don't powerful minorities usually dictate terms in tyrannies? An attempt to regulate speech does not necessarily require a majority or minority, and tyranny is not an automatic consequence.

              Without the right to communicate unambiguously, it's impossible for grievances to be heard except couched in whatever newspeak terms the power elite allow.

              You kno

      • In childrearing, my philosophy was let them do anything they wanted, with the limitation that "only so long as it is not too much trouble to keep a watch that they don't kill themselves" (or someone else).

        " Is there no line that can be crossed between holding an opinion and seeking harm to others?" I think the line is the infringement of the other's liberty.

        From "The Rights of Man" 1789. Article IV "Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the nat

    • by oiron (697563)

      Just try to do what somebody in power defines as:
      1. Deny the holocaust,

      Last I heard, that was Germany, not the Anglosphere...

      2. Incite homophobia.
      3. Incite racial hatred.

      Incite homophobic violence and racial violence more like; otherwise certain politicians would be jailed for multiple life terms. To name just one, Rick Santorum in the US.

      4. Display child pornography (where in some places e.g. Italy the "child" can mean a 17 years old).

      Child pornography is violence (of a sort) against a child who cannot consent. How is this a free speech issue?

      5. Denigrate the Moslem religion.

      Yet, Richard Dawkins and Pastor Terry Jones are still free

      6. Suggest that Homeland Security has been given too much power.

      Yet, Bruce Scheiner still roams free.

      And in all those cases, truth or consent is NOT a defence!

      And you will find yourself in jail, not just banned from posting for a month.

      Truth is a defence. Consent (I assume you talk of the child pornography thing) can

      • points
        1. Not crime to deny holocaust in Anglosphere. conceded.
        2 & 3. Rather a fine legal point there between inciting "hate" and "violence". Not conceded.
        4. That is a cultural question. Not conceded.
        5. Good lawyers in the US can cite (is it the first?) amendment. But In my country (AU) you better have the capacity to fight. Partly conceded.
        6. But what is HS doing closing down wikileaks and copyright websites? And don't people get into trouble at airports? Reckon it's happening but we don't get

        • by oiron (697563)

          2 & 3. Rather a fine legal point there between inciting "hate" and "violence". Not conceded.

          Not so very fine; saying "I hate X" is different from saying "Kill X". Naturally, there's a grey area that's handled case-by-case.

          4. That is a cultural question. Not conceded.

          How so? A minor can't give consent. And it's generally a pretty despicable activity that harms the child concerned anyway. This is similar to incitement to violence. Your rights end where others' rights begin.

          5. Good lawyers in the US can cite (is it the first?) amendment. But In my country (AU) you better have the capacity to fight. Partly conceded.

          Not sure of Australia, but I'm yet to hear of anyone going to jail (that being your whole accusation) for that...

          6. But what is HS doing closing down wikileaks and copyright websites? And don't people get into trouble at airports? Reckon it's happening but we don't get to hear of it. not conceded.

          Nice evidentiary standard there! "Reckon it's happening but

          • Going back to point 1. The Germans are, of course, devolved Anglosphere.
            2&3 Lets leave it as a grey area. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derryn_Hinch#Sexual_Relationship_With_Underage_Girl [wikipedia.org] This radio commenter was jailed for (ultimately) the "hate crime" of publicly identifying a pederast.
            4. In some cultures (Aboriginal Australian, even 50 years ago) children under 6 or so ran around in public, naked. Look in National Geographic a few decades ago. Finding something to be "pornographic" is largely cul

  • So I take it that those users who do NOT "provide their official government-issued identification numbers ... and link to a cellphone account ..." will suffer greatly by having to sign up for another fake account every single time they run out of points ... Gosh, that's harsh.

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