China on Wednesday announced it will ban internet accounts that impersonate people or organizations starting March 1 and will enforce new regulations that will require people to use real names when registering accounts online.
The ban on impersonations will apply to accounts that purport to be government bodies, such as China’s anti-corruption agency as well as accounts that impersonate foreign leaders, such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) noted on its website.
New regulations announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China will apply to users of blogs, microblogs, instant messaging services, online discussion forums, news comment sections and other related services.
As per the new regulations, users will need to submit their real names and personal information in registering with a service. They will be allowed to select their own usernames so long as they don’t involve banned content including anything that violates the law, harms national security, involves national secrets, harms national unity, incites ethnic discrimination or hatred, or promotes pornography, gambling, violence, terror, superstition and rumors.
The rules also require internet services to have users sign a contract that includes a pledge to refrain from “illegal and unhealthy” activity. Operators will be required to assign an employee to review and keep track of user details to ensure they comply with the rules.
Sina Corp., which operates one of China’s most popular Internet platforms, said it “firmly supports” the new measures.