Weibo, China’s Twitter, announced on Thursday that it will begin publishing users’ IP addresses on their account pages and when they submit comments in an effort to curb “bad conduct” online. The change, which was announced on Weibo’s official account, received over 200 million views and was widely debated, with some users concerned about their online anonymity being compromised. Every IP address appears to be whispering in your ear, warning you to be cautious. Others, on the other hand, indicated they supported the measures because of COVID-related disinformation. IPs being quickly exposed can significantly minimize the emergence of filthy content from rumor-makers and rumor-spreaders, especially at a time when the COVID issue is still critical.Users’ IP addresses will be exposed under new settings that went into effect on Thursday and cannot be turned off by users, according to Weibo (WB), which has over 570 million monthly active users. The site will indicate the province or municipality from where users are posting in China, according to the company. The country of users’ IP addresses will be revealed for anyone using Weibo from outside China. The settings are intended to prevent inappropriate conduct such as impersonating parties involved in hot-button topics, harmful misinformation, and traffic scraping, as well as to assure the validity and transparency of the content sent. The warning stated, “Weibo has always been committed to preserving a healthy and orderly atmosphere of debate and protecting users’ rights and interests to swiftly receive true and effective information.”
Thousands of user comments all had an additional label stating the province or municipality of the user’s IP address, demonstrating the consequences of the new restrictions were already obvious beneath the notification.
China has tight control over its cyberspace and has been increasing up efforts to “clean up” the internet in the last year. Under current Chinese regulations, social media platforms that fail to filter critical information face financial penalties as well as temporary service bans.It has not, however, publicly addressed cases of accounts being suspended or banned for just expressing opposing views, such as supporting Ukraine or condemning Russia over the continuing conflict.

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