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Sina Weibo Introduces "User Contract"

05-09 18:10 Caijing
China's web giant Sina, operator of Weibo.com, has created a "user contract" for this most popular twitter-like microblog service, shortly after it admitted it hasn't enforced rules requested by the government

China's web giant Sina, operator of Weibo.com, has created a "user contract" for this most popular twitter-like microblog service, shortly after it admitted it hasn't fully implemented rules requested by the government that require users to submit their identifications.

The terms of the user contract, which include some of particular concern over regulations of sensitive information, are in an initial trial phase and will be introduced across the Sina Weibo service on May 28.

In Article 13, the contract lists nearly ten kinds of information users are not allowed to publish on Weibo, including that "harms the unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of the nation" and that "spreads rumors, disrupts social order, and destroys societal stability."

Among terms that define some "don'ts" in users' account information, it also specifies that users could not "avoid the above-mentioned restrictions" using subtle or vague expressions, which can be seen regularly among its 300 million users to express negative feelings.

These terms also call for the creation of a new "community committee" charged with overseeing and implementing these new rules. The committee will be comprised of Sina Weibo users, as well as "expert members", who will determine the factual accuracy of any questionable posts.

Punishments will be enforced on users who violate its terms, including a bar from commenting, posting and even forced closure, depending on how serious those violations are.

China's regular had forced Sina to deactivate its comment feature for three days to clean "rumors" of a political cop in April amid qualm following Bo Xilai's ouster.

Here below are full terms of the contract:

Section 1: Overview

Article 1) Sina Weibo is a social media internet platform established and operated by by Sina Corporation.

Article 2) "Sina Weibo user" refers to a registered user of Sina Weibo, and he or she must  observe the rules of this agreement; unregistered users must also observe the rules of this agreement in activities on this platform.

Article 3) Sina Weibo users may not violate presently active laws and regulations on this platform. This platform will, according to relevant laws and regulations as well as agreements with registered users, cooperate with juridical organs to protect and maintain the legal rights and interests of those whose rights are violated.

Article 4) Sina Weibo Community Management Center (hereafter, "the Site") will, according to present laws and regulations as well as this agreement, establish "Sina Weibo Community Agreement (Trial Phase)" and implement it.

Section 2: Rights and Privileges of Users

Article 5) Users enjoy the right to use Sina Weibo accounts. This right of use cannot be transferred in any way; the behavior of an account will be seen as the behavior of the registered user.

Article 6) The Site encourages users to authenticate their true identities and apply for a special symbol; the application methods and criteria for authentication are public and transparent. These kinds of users enjoy more services. The special symbols include: individual authentication, Weibo celebrity, and organization authentication, among others.

Article 7) Expression by users on this platform may not infringe upon the legal rights of others, and may not come in conflict with presently effective laws, regulations, and this agreement.

Article 8) Users' individual privacy is protected.

Information authenticating Sina Weibo users' true identities is protected by a third party platform. Protection of users' privacy is a fundamental policy of Sina Weibos, except in the case of users voluntarily providing the information and judicial authorities requiring it to be revealed in accordance with legal procedures.

Article 9) When users' rights are infringed upon in the Sina Weibo community, they may protect their rights through the Weibo reporting function or take legal measures.

Section 3 Regulations on User Behavior

Article 10) User registration and use of weibos must be in accordance with presently effective laws and regulations. It is not permitted to allow the use of a weibo account by another party in any manner, and it is not permitted to illegitimately use another's weibo account.

Article 11) Users may not maliciously use machines or software, or other non-human methods to register a weibo account, distribute content, or follow others, excepting software applications permitted by Weibo officially.

Article 12) Users have the right to set their individual account information (including: nickname, picture, self-introduction, account template, etc.) but accounts are not permitted which contain content that:

1.      Violates national laws and regulations
2.      Is an attack on another person
3.      Implies confusion or mixing up with another person or organization
4.      Includes illegal information
It is not permitted to use oblique expression or other methods to get around the aforementioned restrictions

Article 13) Users have the right to publish information, but may not publish any information that:

1.Opposes the basic principles established by the constitution
2.Harms the unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of the nation
3.Reveals national secrets, endangers national security, or threatens the the honor or interests of the nation
4.Incites ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermines ethnic unity, or harms ethnic traditions and customs
5.Promotes evil teachings and superstitions
6.Spreads rumors, disrupts social order, and destroys societal stability
7.Promotes illicit activity, gambling, violence, or calls for the committing of crimes
8.Calls for disruption of social order through illegal gatherings, formation of organizations, protests, demonstrations, mass gatherings and assemblies
9.Has other content which is forbidden by laws, administrative regulations and national regulations.

Article 14) Users may not publish untrue information. For information about what untrue information is, please see "Sina Weibo Community Management Regulations (Trial Phase)."

Article 15) Users must respect the reputations of others, and may not attack them personally with insults, libel, or in any other way.

Article 16) Users should respect others' right to privacy, and may not infringe upon their privacy, except when it is relevant to the public good or agreed upon by the person(s) in question. Privacy includes real names, ID numbers, telephone numbers, home address, and other personal information users are not willing to publicly reveal.

Article 17) Users should respect the image rights of others, and may not use or alter images of others without their permission.

Article 18) Users should respect the rights of others to be free from worry, and may not use Weibo to harass others. They may not repeatedly comment on or at, directly message, or send requests to follow that contain the exact or closely resembling information or include identical requests.

Article 19) Users should respect the copyrights of others. When posting content created by others, they must indicate the source or have a clear "republish" symbol.

Section 4: Community Management

Article 20)  Sina Weibo community management is jointly accomplished by the Site and the community committee.

Article 21) The Site may find behavior which violates regulations directly or through reporting by users; users who have completed identity authentication may use Weibo's reporting feature.

Article 22) The Site may deal with behavior which violates regulations in accordance with "Sina Weibo Community Management Regulations (Trial Phase)"

Article 23) Processing of regulation violations includes: the processing of content and accounts
Content processing includes: deletion, preventing reposting, disabling commenting or annotation, etc.
Account processing includes: preventing posting of weibos, forbidding following, and deletion of the account.

Article 24) The Site will directly deal with behavior in clear violation of regulations; other regulation violating behavior will be dealt after the community committee makes a determination.

Article 25) The community committee can be split into two types: regular committee members who can pass decisions on conflicts between users, and expert committee members who can determine if information is true. The community committee members will be recruited from the public.

Article 26) When determining whether suspects have violated regulations, community committee members will pass a verdict by majority vote within a specific time frame, and the Site will complete processing according to the result.

Article 27) The procedure for processing violations of regulations will be publicly shown on the website file.

Article 28) The methods used by the Site to process violations according to the verdicts of the community committee are users' self regulation, and do not represent the stance of Sina Weibo.

Section 5: Addendums

Article 29) Legal disputes of users that come from their behaviors on Weibo have no relation to Sina Corporation

Article 30) The Site can continuously perfect this convention in accordance with different levels of development of the internet, the community's accumulation of management experience, and the need to maintain order in the Weibo community.

Article 31) This convention is effective as of 05/28/2012

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