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China to Implement New Regulations for BBS Service Providers

CAC, 8/25/17

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently announced new regulations for online Bulletin Board System (BBS) service providers, which will go into effect on October 1 this year.

CAC defines "BBS service providers" as websites, apps, interactive broadcasting platforms, and other platforms that combine news and public opinion attributes and social mobilization capabilities, and use forum posts, replies, messages, or "bullet screen" commenting services to allow users to publish information in written, emoji, image, or audio-video formats.

The regulations require that BBS service providers must undergo a security review process whenever releasing new products, apps, and features that offer users online news and information services.

Specifically, BBS service providers should observe the following procedures:

1. Users are required to register their real names on BBS platforms. Users who are not registered should not be permitted to comment and participate in discussions threads.

2. BBS service providers that offer news information should set up a pre-screening system to examine content prior to publication.

3. BBS service providers should set up an auditing and editorial team large enough to examine content.

4. A user hierarchical management system should be established to manage user credit ratings based on their discussion and comment activity. Depending on a user's rating, BBS service providers should provide appropriate features. Users with very poor ratings should be added to a blacklist, and should also be suspended from the BBS. Blacklisted users should also not be able to regain access to BBS platforms by simply re-registering.

CAC and its provincial branches should set up credit record systems for BBS service providers, and bad credit blacklist management mechanisms, and should periodically evaluate service provider credit ratings.

Keywords: Internet BBS Cyberspace Administration of China regulation

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