The number of China’s Internet users have reached 360 million, says ChinaTechNews – a pretty darn sizable market that has attracted considerable attention (and you know, a thousand internet-addiction camp proprietors).
But with the larger amount of netizens (and the greater power they hold), has come increasing government paranoia. As the only country in the world where its youth have more online friends than offline friends, China is struggling to manage and oversee its internet users’ overwhelming social networking activities.
Last week, China blocked a website that was originally meant to invite the microbloggers of Twitter to comment on the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years past, but transformed instead into a forum for protest against Beijing’s Internet censorship.
In the latest attempt to monitor potentially politically sensitive content from being posted, “the government-linked Internet Society of China plans to compose ‘self-discipline standards’ for microblogging services,” says CW.
A document the group released for blog providers and websites of the Twitter-nature calls for them to delete “illegal or harmful information” or simply to cease blog service for infringing users.
We’re on month five of losing freedom to access Facebook, month eight since being barred from Youtube, year god-knows-when of being blocked from most blogging sites… and it’s not looking too hot for even 140-character Twitter clones, much less Twitter. What’s 360 million internet users to do?