Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms, announced this morning that, starting November 1, it will forbid children under the age of 14 from creating accounts.
According to the notice released by Weibo Administrator, the microblogging site’s official management account, the implementation of age restrictions is aimed at “protecting minors’ safety on the internet” and further creating an environment that is “clean, healthy, civilized, and organized.”
In addition, to fulfill its commitment of “providing a safe online space for children,” the company is accelerating its creation of a new version of Weibo designed exclusively for underage users, where they can browse family-friendly content and engage in “safe” online activities.
The statement doesn’t elaborate on how the new rules will affect current account holders who are under the age of 14.
Since Weibo’s establishment in 2009, this is the first time that the platform has adopted a minimum user age policy. In 2017, after promoting real-name registration for years, Weibo issued an ultimatum to its users demanding they verify their accounts with real names and identification numbers.
It’s a common practice for social media services in the West to restrict users younger than a certain age. Big social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat all require account holders to be at least 13 years old.