'Majority' of Chinese microblog site users will have authenticated accounts

Sina Weibo predicts that about 60 percent of its users will have registered their real names in time for the Mar. 16 deadline set by the government, says report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing, Contributor

The majority of Sina microblog users will have successfully authenticated their accounts by the Mar. 16 deadline set by the Beijing authorities, say report.

In a Monday report, Liu Qi, spokesperson from Sina, told Reuters that the company predicted that about 60 percent of its Sina Weibo microblog users would have successfully registered their real identities with their Sina Weibo account by the deadline.

In Dec. 2011, the Beijing government said microblog users would need to authenticate their accounts with their real identities. Since Beijing's announcement, many other Chinese cities have followed suit. In an update in early February, the Beijing Internet Information Office said users who have not authenticated their accounts can only browse the microblogs and are not allowed to post any messages.

Sina CEO Charles Chao had previously said that the rule could negatively impact Sina's growth. He also said that more than 40 percent of new registered users on Sina Weibo have failed the verification screening.

In a past ZDNet Asia report, an analyst said that registering with real names on social networks might become a norm in the future. Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan, noted that this would not be driven by government enforcement but by the social networks themselves which see authentic user identity as a way to attract advertisers.

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