On August 7, 2014, the National Internet Information Office published the Interim Provisions on the Administration of the Development of the Public Information Services of Instant Messaging Tools (the Interim Provisions) in order to further advance the sound and orderly development of instant messaging services, protect the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens and organizations, and safeguard the national security and public interests.
Key elements of the Interim Provisions include:
- The Interim Provisions should apply to the public information services of instant messaging tools carried out within the territory of the People’s Republic of China. For the purpose of the Interim Provisions, “instant messaging tools” refer to the Internet-based applications that provide instant messaging services to end users, and “public information services” refer to the activities of releasing information to the public through public accounts of the instant messaging tools or other means.
- Any service providers of instant messaging tools who engage in the public information services should obtain the license for provision of Internet news information services.
- A service provider of instant messaging tools should follow the principle of “a real name backstage, and a freely-chosen name on stage” and require its users to register their accounts with real identity information.
- The opening of public accounts for public information serivces by the users of the instant messaging tools should be examined by the service providers of instant messaging tools, and such opening of public accounts should be filed with the competent Internet information authorities by the service providers of instant messaging tools.
- The public accounts of instant messaging tools opened by (i) news agents, (ii) news websites, or (iii) non-news agents who have obtained a license for provision of Internet news information services may release or reproduce political news. Other public accounts are not allowed to release or reproduce political news.
- Interim Provisions on the Administration of the Development of the Public Information Services of Instant Messaging Tools
- Issuing authority: National Internet Information Office
- Date of issuance: August 7, 2014 / Effective date: August 7, 2014