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Regulation to target online insults, rumors

Internet service providers responsible for cyberbullying warning systems

By Cao Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-17 09:26

China has introduced a new regulation to combat cyberbullying that imposes stricter requirements on internet platforms, aiming to enhance early warning systems dealing with online attacks, experts said.

The regulation, released jointly by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the National Radio and Television Administration, defines online bullying as illegal or harmful content targeting individuals. It includes insults, rumors, defamation, discrimination, invasion of privacy, belittling and intimidation.

To come into effect on Aug 1, the 34-article regulation will require internet service providers to strengthen early warnings against potential cyberbullying.

Platforms must implement systems that monitor factors such as the parties involved, the content of the incident, the number of participants, and the frequency of information release to promptly detect and warn of cyberbullying risks. The regulation also urges platforms to classify cyberbullying content and use technologies like artificial intelligence and big data to identify related content and establish a sample library of typical cases.

Zhao Zhanling, a lawyer with Beijing Javy Law Firm, praised the early warning measures and emphasized the importance of prevention.

"It is essential to impose higher requirements on internet platforms because early warning cannot be separated from their technological support," he said.

Zhu Wei, deputy head of the Communication Law Research Center at China University of Political Science and Law, highlighted the regulation's focus on early warning as a significant feature.

"Once cyberbullying occurs, it is difficult to completely remedy the damage, so prevention is key," he said.

The regulation outlines duties for government departments, including the cyberspace, public security, culture and tourism, and radio and television authorities, to ensure effective implementation.

Liu Deliang, a professor at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said that would enhance enforcement of the regulation.

Last year, the Supreme People's Court, in collaboration with the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, issued a guideline against cyberbullying following several high-profile cases. It allows judges to request police assistance in collecting evidence for online insult or defamation cases and clarifies when prosecutors can take action, including initiating public-interest litigation if internet service providers fail to address cyberbullying on their platforms.

The number of online defamation cases handled last year rose 10.3 percent year-on-year, with convictions up 102.4 percent, according to the Supreme People's Court.

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