Feature

China: Why the U.S. should track Internet users

American news outlets are beginning to realize that there are limits to free speech on the Internet, said Qing Di and Ping Yue in a commentary for the Beijing news service Xinhua.

Qing Di and Ping YueXinhua

American news outlets are beginning to realize that there are limits to free speech on the Internet, said Qing Di and Ping Yue in a commentary for the Beijing news service Xinhua. They used to believe that free speech was the most important value, and that only if users were anonymous could they truly speak freely. But the news sites have seen how anonymity “has created a hotbed for vulgar and inflammatory language.”

They have now begun revising their policies to require people to use their real names when posting comments to news articles. Of course, the trend “will not be an easy sell in a country as enamored with free speech as America.” But the Americans could look to South Korea, which had a terrible problem with anonymous online slander. A few years ago, Seoul began requiring registration for Internet use. “After several years of practicing and perfecting, the South Koreans now accept it.” Americans will be next.

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