Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, has introduced tighter rules to curb controversial posts and thwart spread of online rumours.
But, many suspect that the stricter rules have been introduced on the behest of Chinese authorities as Sina Weibo has become a strong platform for people to criticize the government and its policies in a way that had never been possible before.
Under the newly introduced "user contracts", which aims strengthen the so-called Great Firewall of China (the country's system of internet controls), each user is given 80 points. The service deducts the points when the breaks the rules by involving in activities like calling for illegal protests, spreading rumours, insulting the nation and encouraging gambling. The user face cancellation of his/her accounts if the balance of points drops to zero.
The new rules are believed to be a part of the Government's latest attempt to contain the impact of the social-networking service.
Earlier, the Chinese authorities forced Weibo's legions of micro-bloggers to reveal their own names; rather than nicknames or avatars, while using social networks.
In China, micro-blogging started just nearly three years back, but it gained popularity very fast. Number of micro-bloggers quadrupled last year. Currently, 50 per cent of internet users in China use micro-blogs.
Sina Weibo has as many as 300 million users.