Most of China's media industry is heavily regulated by the government
The chief executive of China's Weibo on Friday confirmed that China may start denying anonymity to online commentators on politics and finance by requiring them to display their names on their accounts, telling users the policy was incoming.
The comments by Wang Gaofei, whose microblogging platform is China's equivalent of X, caught the attention of local media and several Weibo users, amid concerns over growing censorship and government scrutiny over the country's internet.
Several Weibo influencers have in the past few days said they were told that users commenting on politics, entertainment, and finance with one million followers or more, would have to start displaying their real names. They did not say where the instructions were coming from. China's cyberspace regulator has not commented on this.
In Wang's case, the display of his name on his account was first pointed out by a user, leading him to respond that he was testing out this policy on his own account first.
"Long-time followers (of my account) all know that (I) try to first use (new) functions myself," he wrote.
Wang, who has 957,000 followers on the platform, also said that the new real-name policy could in the future be extended to users with half a million followers or more, but not less. He also suggested users could delete followers to avoid being subjected to the policy.
While most of China's media industry is heavily regulated by the government, the past years have seen the rise of popular bloggers or small, independent media groups known as "zimeiti", that often specialize in certain sectors and have gained substantial readership and influence.
China's cyberspace regulator has sought to get a grip on this activity, launching a multi-pronged crackdown that has seen it shut many of such bloggers down or fine social media platforms for not taking sufficient action.
The regulator did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)