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China mandates the use of real names with messaging services

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Users must sign contracts to show they will "uphold the socialist system"

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China is cracking down on instant messaging services in an attempt to ensure citizens "obey the law and uphold the socialist system." The New York Times reports that authorities are requiring the use of real names when registering public accounts, similar to a one-time Google+ policy. Additionally, users must sign a strict contract designed to help police the dissemination of information, and also desist from publishing political news or current affairs without governmental permission.

obey the law and uphold the socialist system

It is believed that these new regulations are primarily targeting a popular service called WeChat, which has nearly 400 million active users per month. The news is unsurprising, however, as Tencent has already culled more than 400 accounts. The New York Times cites a statement from Tencent saying the developer has built systems to prevent the propagation of rumors. It also plans to take action against "copyright infringement, harassment, spam or 'anything that defies national law and policies and social morals.'"

How China plans to enforce its regulations remains a mystery. "We just have to satisfy the government and make them feel it’s safe," an unnamed employee from a social media company tells the New York Times.

Update: Chinese authorities have detained one person under the new regulations, according to a report from Reuters.