Weibo introduces user-points system to regulate content

Chinese microblog's "Weibo credit" system encourage users to report on activities ranging from harassment to spreading of false information; negative reports will result in low score or even account being deleted.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo, has introduced a points-based system for measuring user behaviour and issued a new warning for users to keep check on the content they post.

A notice posted Tuesday on the Weibo Community Management Center dubs the system as "Weibo Credit" and encourages users to report each other for a range of activities, including acts associated with harassment of other users to the spreading of "untrue information". It aims to stamp out content that is blatently wrong, contains exaggeration or is deliberately incomplete.

Each negative report will result in the user receiving a lower credit score, and eventually leading to a "low-credit user" badge. The user can also risk having his account deleted. 

Each user will start with 80 points, and a "low" score refers to anything less than 60 points, according to Weibo.

In addition, deductions for spreading false or plagiarized content is calculated based on how far the content spread, where fake information reposted 100 times or less will lead to a two-point penalty. For instance, fake information reposted 1,000 times or more will result in a user losing 10 points.

A separate statement on Sina's page added that accounts with zero points will be deleted.

On the other hand, users can earn points by verifying their identities such as submitting ID card numbers and linking their mobile numbers to their accounts.

The points system was launched in tandem with additional regulations which punish users for repeatedly posting "sensitive information". Under these rules, users who log more than five posts containing sensitive information will have the posts deleted and be prohibited from posting for 48 hours. Those found guilty of "maliciously posting sensitive information" will be silenced for more than 48 hours and may risk having deleted accounts.

Weibo, along with microblogging site Tencent's t.qq.com, was temporarily suspended last month, following rumors online surrounding the downfall of prominent Communist Part figure, Bo Xilai. Authorities then closed a dozen Web sites and detained six people for circulating rumors, but the sites resumed full service three days later.

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