Forbidden Feeds: Government Controls on Social Media in China

Detailed 2018 review of Chinese developments including intermediary liability laws
Document type

This well-researched and annotated report includes thorough discussion of recent developments affecting online speech via social media in China. A section on applicable law discusses the consolidation of agencies exercising authority over online speech and the passage of several laws or regulations increasing the responsibility of Internet intermediaries. In addition to the 2017 Cybersecurity law, these include:

  • Chinese Internet News Information Service Management Regulations, effectively prohibiting news and political reporting outside of official channels.
  • Internet Forum Community Service Management Regulations, requiring platforms to verify real identity of users,
  • Internet Thread Comments Service Management Regulations, requiring platforms to establish "credit rating" systems for users, and ultimately ban poorly rated users.
  • Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Regulations, requiring national identity documents for home Internet service and extending the credit rating system.
  • Regulations on the Management of Internet Group Information Service, making group chat initiators  liable for messages in group chats, and requiring "that internet companies must monitor chat records and keep copies of chats for at least six months and notify authorities about unlawful conduct in group chats" - in other words, surveil and report on private chat communications.
Topic, claim, or defense
General or Non-Specified
Document type
Issuing entity
Civil Society
Type of service provider
General or Non-Specified
Issues addressed
Trigger for OSP obligations
OSP obligation considered
Block or Remove
Monitor or Filter
Account Termination
Data Retention or Disclosure
Type of law
General intermediary liability model
Takedown/Act Upon Knowledge (Includes Notice and Takedown)
No Safe Harbor or Immunity