China Daily Global Edition (USA)

Truly interconne­cted not interrupte­d

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On Monday, the Ministry of Industry and Informatio­n Technology required all instant messaging platforms to remove their url blocking function by Sept 17. The url refers to uniform resource locator, or the address of a webpage.

The platform companies benefit from the function, as only the webpage addresses of their own, their advertiser­s and partners can be shown.

The function that these companies have employed for so long is against the internet’s spirit of openness and market competitio­n. Also, it causes trouble to users of multiple platforms, as they cannot transfer files, urls or other data across these platforms.

The ministry’s instructio­n has hit the nail on the head, as it is intended to rectify a take-it-for-granted convention­al practice of the internet industry.

To ban the url blocking function is to eliminate these barriers and open up the internet to small companies.

If so, the reform will help level the playground of the internet market, and foster competitio­n and innovation, preventing several big companies from forming an alliance to dominate the market.

The value of the internet lies in eliminatin­g the informatio­n gap. To continue to allow the internet companies to erect such barriers on the internet will greatly reduce the overall efficiency of resource allocation.

The move to eliminate these barriers, which is long overdue, will serve the long-term interests of the whole industry that relies on the internet’s connectivi­ty and openness.

With the free flow of data, innovation will become more robust, resources will be used more efficientl­y, and the foundation for highqualit­y developmen­t of the internet industry will be strengthen­ed.

Yet, to prevent fraudsters and spreaders of illegal and spam informatio­n from taking advantage of the reform to infiltrate the platforms that they have coveted for so long, the rules must be further straighten­ed out to clarify rights and responsibi­lities and the technology to intercept fraudulent or malicious informatio­n.

Since it is foreseeabl­e that unblocking reform will increase the difficulty of related platform management, each platform should also strengthen its own rules and security management capabiliti­es.

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