China has announced that its Twitter-clone, Sino Weibo, will introduce a point system that will penalize users who post content that is deemed to be a violation of these terms:

Article 13) Users have the right to publish information, but may not publish any information that:

1. Opposes the basic principles established by the constitution
2. Harms the unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of the nation
3. Reveals national secrets, endangers national security, or threatens the the honor or interests of the nation
4. Incites ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermines ethnic unity, or harms ethnic traditions and customs
5. Promotes evil teachings and superstitions
6. Spreads rumors, disrupts social order and destroys societal stability
7. Promotes illicit activity, gambling, violence or calls for the committing of crimes
8. Calls for disruption of social order through illegal gatherings, formation of organizations, protests, demonstrations, mass gatherings and assemblies
9. Has other content which is forbidden by laws, administrative regulations and national regulations

Article 14) Users may not publish untrue information. For information about what untrue information is, please see “Sina Weibo Community Management Regulations (Trial Phase).”

As you can see this list of rules is fairly vague and really gives Sino Weibo the ability to deduct points from a user as they see fit. Users will be granted 80 points initially and they will be banned from the service if they lose all of their points. This kind of censorship really limits the true power of social media.

Social media can quickly spread messages that carry varied views and opinions. This enables you to see different sides of an issue and make an informed decision. If the social media content I wrote was heavily censored I’m not sure I’d even want to use it. What would be the point of logging onto Facebook if every post you see is going to be similar? I like to get on and see different opinions and have some mild debates on different topics such as sports, politics, society, etc. Social media should fly free like a bird.

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