China is working to control the Internet even more. As access to sites like Google, Facebook, and other sites have become spotty, at best, users will now be required to log official, legal names, on blogs, chat rooms, and even messaging services. The goal of the move is to ensure that no one is challenging the communist political system that is currently in place. The evolving rules of the Internet come at a time when a challenge to the current political scheme in the country is at an all-time high. Users are now required to give more information, and forced to stand behind their remarks – and allow the government even more access to their personal profile online.
While this may seem like something that is really ‘out of bounds’ it actually is par for the course in China. Unfortunately, the country has been marred in political fighting over the last year – as individuals living within China begin to more-thoughtfully propose their own thoughts and ideas on how government should function. It was just last week that China made news for blocking VPN’s or virtual private networks – which are frequently used to circumvent the Internet filters that exist currently within the country. Even more interesting is the spike in information and screenings that China want to subject foreign businesses to before they are permitted to continue functioning within the country. The move is one that will increase the amount of censorship here in the United States, but will impact social media websites the most.
These restrictions and growing filters are definitely having an impact, too. It was noted that the total number of microblogging users in China dropped nearly 8% in 2014, losing 32 million users in the process. Interestingly, China does keep their focus political – as other uses of the Internet remains relatively untouched. Most notably, sites that are often used to talk politics, or to write personal essays that speak to certain political events – or even challenge reports – has been the focus of China’s move to regulate the Internet more. It’s hard to say at this point how much further the regulation will go, as China has a functional limitation to the amount of regulation they can impose – being one of the largest industrial nations in the world.