On Thursday the 7th September 2017, Chinese Internet authorities published new rules for the management of group chats. From now on, the owner and the manager of a group chat bear 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 also required to verify the identity of users and keep the logs for at least 6 months.
What is your WeChat-credit ranking?
Additionally, according to the new regulation operators need 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 2017 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.
If you want to learn more about EU General Data Protection Regulation, you can watch our presentation VIDEO given by Mr.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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