China issues strict rules, admins' accountable for group chats

Updated: 12 Sep 2017
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Read more on online group rules in China  
According to newly released Administration Rules on Messages of Online Chatting Groups by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), administrators shall be responsible for the messages shared in the online chatting groups that they created or managed.

Illicit messages including content showing violence, terrorism, fake rumors, obscene pornography and more are prohibited.

Service providers:
> Providers of information services should fulfill their responsibility to manage online information, and shall have professional and technical capability conforming to the scale of their services, the regulations read.

> Service providers for online group chats should clarify the responsibility of users, and identify and avoid the leakage of users' personal information. Safety flaws and loopholes that create risks should be found and remedied in a timely manner.

> Service providers of social media accounts who release contents to the public, such as those on WeChat and twitter-like Weibo, as well as question-and-answer forums including and Fenda, should step up monitoring of and management on the contents released.

> The administration also suggests that service providers build a credit rating and blacklist system to strengthen management and supervision of group chats. Public supervision is also encouraged.

> Group administrators shall regulate the conduct of their group members and the information posted in groups in accordance with the law, user agreements and conventions.

> Group members shall follow regulations, and rule breakers will be subject to punishment that could include a lower credit score and suspension or revocation of chat management rights.

> Groups that release illegal information such as pornographic, violent, terrorism-related and false information, will have group chats closed or suspended and the group's founder will receive punishment from the service provider, who will lower its credit rating, suspend management rights or put the founder's name on a blacklist.

A man from east China's Anhui Province was given a 5-day administrative detention for using abusive language toward the local police in a group on WeChat, China’s most popular instant messaging app.

The new regulations will take effect on October 8th, 2017.
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