Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo said on Wednesday that it wants to hire a team of social media vigilantes to help identify and stamp out inappropriate online content.
According to a statement posted to its own Weibo account, the company said the scheme was designed to strengthen supervision of netizens and to more effectively rid the platform of what it referred to as “pornographic, illegal, and harmful information.” It did not elaborate on what constituted such content. Pornography is illegal in China.
Those selected for what appear to be part-time roles will be compensated for their efforts if they achieve certain monthly targets, such as reporting at least 200 valid cases of inappropriate content. These supervisors will be given VIP membership, paid 200 yuan ($30) in online credits, and may qualify to receive a special orange electronic badge displayed on their Weibo accounts.
For social media sleuths whose prowess at sniffing out undesirable content ranks them among the company’s top 10 supervisors, the rewards will be even greater, potentially including Apple smartphones and laptops.
In addition to monthly rewards, bonuses and other prizes will be handed out on an annual basis, the statement said. Top-ranking supervisors in the year-end assessment will be recommended as excellent “self-discipline inspectors” for the Beijing Internet Association, a nonprofit agency established in 2004 to promote internet proliferation and legal supervision.
Candidates for the position can apply online, but are subject to certain requirements. Applicants must have been Weibo users for more than a year, and must have verified their identities with the platform, for example.
Weibo also reserves the right to drop supervisors under certain circumstances, such as when they report three cases that are considered invalid.
Weibo said it was introducing the program in response to guidelines issued by the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China. On Monday, the same office announced that it had fined Weibo and other online platforms for neglecting to prevent users from spreading pornographic content and ethnic hate speech.
On Tuesday, state news agency Xinhua reported that 20 million vulgar and pornographic messages had been scrubbed from China’s social media platforms, including Weibo, during a 40-day campaign in August and September.
Contributions: Fan Liya; editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: Photos are reflected in the glasses of a pornography identification officer in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, March 6, 2015. Li Zhanjun/Southern Metropolis Daily/VCG)