'Two million monitoring sensitive posts on Internet in China'

Beijing, PTI | Updated : 06 October 2013, 07:46 PM

China has deployed over two million people to monitor web activity, state media say, providing a rare glimpse into how the Communist giant tries to control the Internet in the world's most populous nation.

The Beijing News says the monitors, described as Internet opinion analysts, are on state and commercial payrolls.

China's hundreds of millions of web users increasingly use microblogs to criticise the state or vent anger.

The report by the Beijing News said that these monitors were not required to delete postings.

China's Internet is one of the most controlled and censored in the world. Websites deemed to be subversive are blocked. Politically sensitive postings are routinely deleted.

But with the rapid growth of Internet users, the ruling Communist Party has found itself fighting an uphill battle, reports said.

The Beijing News, while reporting the story of microblog monitors, has admitted that it is impossible for the government to delete all "undesirable" postings.

They are "strictly to gather and analyse public opinions on microblog sites and compile reports for decision-makers", it said. It also added details about how some of these monitors work.

Tang Xiaotao has been working as a monitor for less than six months, the report says, without revealing where he works.

"He sits in front of a PC every day, and opening up an application, he types in key words which are specified by clients.

"He then monitors negative opinions related to the clients, and gathers (them) and compile reports and send them to the clients," it says.

The reports says that the software used in the office is even more advanced and supported by thousands of servers. It also monitors websites outside China.

China rarely reveals any details concerning the scale and sophistication of its Internet police force.

It is believed that the two million Internet monitors are part of a huge army which the government relies on to control the cyber space.

The government is also to organise training classes for them for the first time from 14 to 18 October, the paper says.

The most popular microblogging site Sina Weibo, launched in 2010, now has more than 500 million registered users with 100 million messages posted daily.

First Published: Sunday, October 06, 2013 07:44 PM
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