Beijing microbloggers must register their real names

The Beijing Internet Information Office has told all microblog users that they must use their real names or lose their access.

BEIJING--An officer at the Beijing Internet Information Office (BIIO) has decreed that all microblog users in the Chinese capital must authenticate their names before Mar. 16, or will have their access limited to browsing and not be allowed to post or relay messages.

All major microbloging services in the city have already begun implementing such measures. Sina Weibo.com, for instance, has added an identity data-matching function which includes information such as the user's real name and identification number during the registration process. If the information does not match, users can only browse the site upon registering their account. A user will need to authenticate his identity again if he wants to post on the site.

To date, 3 million new users have already authenticated their names and the volume of registration applications on a single day continues to rise. Microblogging sites have begun offering more online functions and offline privileges to authenticated users and will also develop a microblogging credit system. A V identification badge will also be launched later this week. These sites have also launched the "Authenticate Me First" event, offering 20 million RMB (US$3.2 million) worth of monthly video channel cards and 1 million RMB (US$158,880) of mobile phone cards as prizes to encourage microbloggers to post using authenticated identities.

For more on this story, read Beijing microbloggers must register real names by Mar. 16 on ZDNet Asia.