Users of Chinese microblog service Sina Weibo have until the end of the week to provide the site with their full name and phone number as part of new restrictions put in place by the Beijing city government. In December of 2011, several agencies stipulated that all microblogging services run out of Beijing must verify their members' account information and make it available to municipal authorities. Sina Weibo, which has an estimated 260 million users, says that about 60 percent will have provided accurate information by the March 16th deadline. Anyone who does not provide information, or whose information is not successfully verified, will no longer be able to post to the site.
The new regulations are supposed to prevent "harmful" false rumors from circulating through microblogging systems, including a story that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been assassinated at the Beijing embassy. A number of government officials have signed up to use Weibo, and microblogging is widely seen as a way to provide citizens with a voice in China's government. However, Weibo is still being closely monitored for politically charged discussion. Its American counterpart, Twitter, is blocked by China's "Great Firewall."