China’s Social Media Platforms Trigger Privacy Concerns with Real-Name Disclosure Requirement for Influencers


China’s popular social media platforms are making headlines with a controversial new policy that requires “self-media” accounts with over 500,000 followers to disclose their real-name information. While some argue that this measure will promote responsible speech, others are concerned about the potential for increased doxxing and the erosion of privacy for users. This article delves into the implications of this policy and captures the diverse opinions it has generated among Chinese internet users.

1. China’s Social Media Giants Introduce Real-Name Disclosure Policy:

China’s most popular social media platforms recently announced that influential “self-media” accounts, encompassing news and information not government-approved, will be required to display real-name information. This move by regulators aims to “purify” China’s cyberspace, which has seen a crackdown on unauthorized online content in recent years.

2. Debating the Necessity of the Policy:

The introduction of this real-name disclosure measure has created a lively debate among Chinese internet users. Supporters, such as former state media editor Hu Xijin, argue that these steps are essential to ensure more responsible speech from influential accounts. Critics, however, express concerns about the potential for increased doxxing and the future removal of online users’ anonymity.

3. Privacy Concerns over Erosion of Anonymity:

A central concern surrounding the real-name disclosure policy is the erosion of user privacy. By uncovering the true identities of influential social media users, the risk of doxxing may increase exponentially. Critics question whether Chinese platforms are going down a path that would dismantle online anonymity entirely.

4. Implications for Influencers:

As a consequence of this policy, thousands of influential influencers on social media platforms will lose their anonymity. The platforms have announced that accounts with over 1 million followers will be affected first, potentially impacting their online traffic and income if they fail to comply with the real-name disclosure requirement. This move signifies a shift in how influencers operate within China’s cyberspace.

5. Potential Impact on Online Landscape:

The decision to implement real-name disclosure for influential accounts could have significant consequences on China’s online landscape. By removing anonymity, social media platforms may observe changes in user behavior, with more cautious content creation and a potential shift towards government-approved narratives. The long-term effects of this policy remain uncertain, but they could reshape how information is disseminated and consumed in Chinese cyberspace.


China’s new real-name disclosure policy for “self-media” accounts with significant follower counts is generating mixed reactions among Chinese internet users. While some praise the measure as a means to encourage responsible speech, others fear that doxxing and a loss of privacy may increase. As renowned influencers bear witness to the erosion of their online anonymity, questions arise about the future implications for China’s digital landscape.

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