At least seven social platforms, including WeChat and Weibo, issued statements urging influencers to reveal their real identities.
China’s most populated social media platforms on Tuesday announced they will soon remove anonymity for content creators that have over 500,000 followers, a controversial measure that has prompted concerns over doxxing and privacy among some users. Others, on the other hand, defend the measure as necessary in order to force influential accounts to use more responsible speech.
Bytedance's Douyin said on Tuesday that it would not ask for anything besides real names and that it would only allow verified accounts to view such information, adding that accounts deemed "risky" or "abnornal" would be prevented from seeing others' real names.
Several of the platforms said that accounts with over 1 million followers would be affected first and those that do not comply would face restrictions in their online traffic and income as a consequence.
The new policy will force bloggers with large fan bases to disclose their real names to the public on social media, in a change to the rules that will likely further deter discussion online in China, especially when it comes to finance news and current affairs, TechNode notes.
In recent years, China has strengthened the management of social media accounts run by individuals or organizations independent of state-control. Many of those accounts have amassed sizable fanbases.