LinkedIn has begun to inform Chinese users that they need add their phone numbers for real-name registration. The professional networking platform says this is to meet local regulations.

Applicants are required to link their government-issued IDs to their phone numbers when purchasing a SIM card. In turn, the identity of an internet user can be verified by linking their phone number to their online accounts.

Chinese Linkedin users were greeted with a message requesting that they add their phone numbers to their accounts before using the service.

The notification informing Chinese users they are required to verify their identity using their phone number. (Image Credit: TechNode)

Despite identity verification rules being in place for a number of years, the government has recently moved to further formalize them. On August 25, 2017,  internet regulator Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that unidentified users of all online communities would not be permitted to post content or comment. The regulation is part of the country’s much-discussed Network Security Law, which serves as a framework for consolidating the rules relating to online spaces.

According to the CAC, the regulation seeks to “promote the healthy and orderly development of the internet forum community industry, protect the legitimate rights and interests of citizens,  and safeguard national security and public interests.”

Other platforms, including Baidu, Weibo, and WeChat have required users to link their phone numbers to their accounts for some time.

Christopher Udemans is TechNode's former Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covered Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, cleantech, and cybersecurity.

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