The government of China has imposed yet another rule on its citizens in an ongoing effort to control what happens in its cyberspace. According to the new regulation, users who attempt to register an account on the web will be required to use their real name.
The no pseudonym policy enables China to know the real identity behind each person. According to the government, fake social media accounts are used to promote violence and hatred, impersonate top government officials as well as foreign heads of state. Some fake online identities are set up with the sole purpose of pretending to be news organizations and publishing hoax that mislead the public.
In order to better control the situation, the government now wants to know the real identity behind every internet account that can publish something.
The new rule will apply to forums, blog posts, comment sections of websites and blogs, social media, Twitter-like micro-blogging sites and so on. So before any word goes online, users must register with their real identity so that the authorities can take action in case an account is used in illegal purposes.
Chinese government said that it will be up to the service providers to enforce the new rule. It didn’t specify what the penalty will be in case service providers do not follow the regulation or fail to get the system in place before the new law takes effect on March 1, 2015.
The government has previously made it mandatory for writers, app developers and video uploaders to have their account registered with real name. The new rule takes it a bit further. However, users may still have their own screen name and avatar as long as they do not include illegal or bad information.
For years, the great firewall of China has been criticized for its tight control over its citizens’ online activities. Although the new law takes another swing at the freedom of speech, it may be even more difficult for the Chinese people to go online and talk about their frustration as now the government would know who they are and they may find themselves in trouble.