China’s Twitter is Building a Special “Safe” Version Just for Under-14-Year-Olds

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2:11 AM HKT, Sat October 13, 2018 1 mins read

Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, is banning users under the age of 14. As the site explained in an official post on October 9th:

In order to further create a clear, healthy, civilized and orderly environment, and to effectively protect the cybersecurity of minors, Weibo will adjust the rules for minors to register and use Weibo products in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Once the new version of the client launches on November 1, 2018, Weibo will suspended the registration of minors under the age of 14.

Unlike social media platforms in other countries, Weibo has the power to determine precisely who registers an account on their site. Chinese phone numbers, which have to be registered with a person’s real name by law, are required in verifying a user’s Weibo account. In comparison, many social media sites in the US an Europe are unwilling or unable to accurately assess a person’s age when they sign up.

However, this isn’t to say that the youth will have to make do without one of China’s biggest social media platforms. Sina will reportedly develop a version of Weibo that will be designed specifically for younger audiences and will be geared towards providing a “safer” environment.

Man, imagine Twitter without all the childish pettiness on it? Oh wait, that mostly comes from the “adults” on the platform. Hmm. It seems kind of odd for an already heavily-censored platform to create a “safe” version, but Chinese internet companies currently seem caught in a spiral of attempting to outdo each other when it comes to content purity.

Weibo’s new stance on minors may well also be representative of the growing fears regarding internet addiction in China, something which – as we reported previously – has pushed Tencent to trial facial recognition lock outs on one of its biggest gaming titles.

Regardless, China’s great big internet “clean up” shows no signs of slowing any time soon.


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