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On Thursday the 7th September 2017, Chinese Internet authorities published new rules for the management of Group Chats. Hence, the owner and the manager of a Group Chat underlie the whole responsibility for the content within the community.

 

Which Services will be affected

 

In China, most online conversations are within groups chats or closed chats. Thus platforms offering such services, such as WeCat, QQ Groups or Baidu Tieba are extremely popular among Chinese and Expats alike.

 

However, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued a statement whereby managers and founders of group chats are responsible for the content posted by group members. Additionally, the operators (i.e. Tencent, Baidu etc.) are obligated, too,  to verify the identity of users and keep the logs for at least 6 months.

 

What is your WeChat-credit ranking?

 

Additionally, the new regulation requires that operators have to implement a user credit system. Users who are violating rules or who share illegal content will be punished by a lowered credit score. A lack of credits can cause, for example, a suspension of rights to manage groups. If the violation is serious and continuing, the user will be reported to the relevant government departments for further investigation. 

 

The statement also highlights that both the group founders and managers are responsible for the content.

 

The new rules will be in force starting from 8 October and will cover all social media platforms provided by the country's Internet giants like Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba, but will also concern dating apps like Momo or Tantan.

 

Richard 1grau  
Richard Hoffmann
 
Richard Hoffmann is a partner at ECOVIS Beijing China. Richard obtained an honors degree in law and worked in Germany, the United States, and China for various prestigious law firms prior to joining ECOVIS. In addition to being a member of the board of ECOVIS International, he is Supervisor for the China business of a respected German company and shares his extensive knowledge to students by teaching commercial law in China at SRH Hochschule Heidelberg. He has published more than fifty articles in international magazines, frequently speaks at high profile events in China and abroad and is often invited as a legal expert by international TV stations. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ecovis Beijing is the trusted tax and legal advisor to several embassies and official institutions in China. It specializes in mid-sized international companies and is focused on tax & legal advisory, accounting and auditing. If you’re interested in finding out more about tax and legal, don’t hesitate to sign up to our Newsletter, give us a call +86 (10) 6561 6609 or contact us directly via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

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