Microblog 'pest' wins account fight

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, December 7, 2011
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A woman has won a lawsuit against Sina Weibo after it closed her microblog accounts without permission, claiming she was harassing other users.

Sina Weibo,China's Twitter-like service.[File photo]

Sina Weibo,China's Twitter-like service.[File photo]

Haidian District People's Court in Beijing ruled it was inappropriate for Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, to twice close accounts of the plaintiff, surnamed Yu.

Sina Weibo was ordered to pay Yu 2,520 yuan (US$397) in compensation, Beijing Times reported yesterday.

On April 12, Yu discovered that her account could not be accessed. Sina Weibo's customer services department told her that her tweets had constituted harassment and that her account would not be restored, the report said.

Six days later, Yu registered a new account, but after posting several comments she found that it "didn't exist."

Customer services said her comments had disturbed other users and failed to comply with user rules.

Yu argued that she had not maliciously attacked others. Sina Weibo unilaterally withdrew the microblogging service, breaching the contract, Yu told the newspaper.

Yu took China's largest microblogging platform to court in May, demanding her accounts be reactivated, Sina Weibo apologize and cover legal costs, the report said.

In court, Sina Weibo argued that as its microblogging service is free it can be withdrawn without giving users notice.

Weibo also said Yu had harassed a TV anchor with repeated messages.

But the verdict said that while the service is free, its popularity brings Sina Weibo substantial advertising income.

Sina Weibo needed Yu's permission before closing the account, the court ruled.

Yu's accounts were reactivated last month.

Recently, Sina Weibo has beefed up self-censorship to help prevent false rumors from spreading.

Users creating rumors may, after notification, have their accounts closed, a Sina Weibo staffer, surnamed Mao, told the newspaper.

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