Provisions on management of Instant Messaging Services

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Editor: ‘Public Accounts” as used in this translation is a specialized meaning unique to WeChat and similar services, meaning accounts operated by public figures, organizations or government entities, to which any user can subscribe. While WeChat has over 400 million accounts, there are only about 6 million ‘public accounts’, of which about 6000 are established by government departments. The remaining public accounts may be divided

http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2014/0807/c1001-25423647.html

People's Daily Online, Beijing, August 7: Today the State Internet Information Office promulgated the "Interim Provisions on Managing the Development of Public Information Services on Instant Messaging Tools". The full text of 'The Provisions' is as follows:

Article 1: The Provisions are formulated on the basis of Laws and Regulations such as the "Decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Preserving Internet Security", the "Decision of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Strengthening Protections for Online Information", the "Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate on Several Issues Regarding the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases such as Using the Internet to Perpetrate Defamation" , the "Measures on the Management on Internet Information Services" and the "Regulations on the Management of Internet News Information Services", so as to further promote the healthy and orderly development of public information services on instant messaging tools, to protect the lawful rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations, and to maintain national security and the public interest.

Article 2: These Provisions apply to public information services on instant messaging tools within the territory of the People's Republic of China.

"Instant messaging tools" as used in these Provisions refers to internet-based services providing end-users with instantaneous information exchange. "Public information services" as used in these Provisions refers to public accounts and other forms of activity releasing information to the public on instant messaging tools.

Article 3: The State Internet Information Office is responsible for the overall coordination and guidance of managing the development of public information services on instant messaging tools; provincial-level internet information content management departments are responsible for related efforts within their administrative regions.

Internet industry organizations shall play an active role to strengthen self-regulation in the industry and promote the establishment of an industry credit appraisal system, promoting the healthy and orderly development of the industry.

Article 4: Instant messaging tool service providers shall acquire the relevant credentials as provided by laws and regulations. Instant messaging tools service providers engaging in public information service activities shall acquire internet news information service credentials.

Article 5: Instant messaging tool service providers shall implement information management responsibilities, establish and improve all systems, allocate specialized personnel appropriate to their service model, protect user information and citizens' privacy, conscientiously accept social oversight, and promptly handle public complaints of unlawful or unwholesome information.

Article 6: Instant messaging tool service providers shall follow a principle of "real names on file, but whatever you like up front", requiring instant messaging tool users to undergo verification of their identity information before opening an account.

When instant messaging tool service users register an account, they shall sign an agreement with the instant messaging tool service provider promising to abide by the "seven bottom lines" of laws and regulations, the socialist system, national interests, citizens' lawful rights and interests, public order, social morality and truthfulness.

Article 7: Users of instant messaging tool services who register a public account to engage in public information service activities shall do so upon review and approval of the instant messaging platform service provider, and the instant messaging tool service providers will make categorical records with the internet information content management departments.

News units and news websites who register public information accounts may post or re-post current political news, and non-news units that have received internet news information service credentials who register a public account may re-post current political news. Other public accounts must not release or re-post current political news without approval.

Instant messaging tool service providers shall add an indicator to public accounts that may release or re-post current political news.

All Party and government offices, enterprises and people's organizations are encouraged to register public accounts to serve the economic and social development and satisfy the public's demands.

Article 8: Instant messaging tool service users engaging in public information service activities shall obey relevant rules and regulations.

Instant messaging tool service providers shall, in light of the circumstances, use methods such as warnings, limiting publications, suspending or closing the account of users who violate the terms of their agreement, and shall save the relevant record to fulfill their obligation to report to the relevant management department.

Article 9: Conduct violating the provisions will be handled by the relevant departments in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.

Article 10: These Provisions come into force on the date of promulgation.

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