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China's cyberspace watchdog reports 'significant results' in online platform regulation

·2 min read

China's cyberspace watchdog said it has "continued to intensify online law enforcement" and achieved "significant results" in platform regulation in the first half of the year.

The Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC) summoned more than 3,400 platforms, fined 283 platforms, and removed 177 apps from app stores for violating laws and regulations during the first half of 2022, according to an article published on the watchdog's official WeChat account on Sunday.

So far this year the CAC has conducted a number of crackdowns on the "chaos" in China's live-streaming and short video market, has taken measures to regulate cyber violence, and has carried on the fight against fake traffic and internet ghostwriters, the article said.

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It also closed a number of websites and accounts that spread pornographic content, engaged in illegal internet news services, set up so-called star lists to induce fans to pay and vote, and offered services such as ghostwriting student essays.

Beijing has tightened its control on the internet in the past few years, carrying out what it describes as a "clean up" of cyberspace. A Politburo meeting hosted by President Xi Jinping this week said leaders had concluded that the government would "normalise" these regulatory efforts over the tech sector and complete the "rectification" of tech platforms.

The CAC article also said regulators have held talks with representatives of China's Twitter-like social media platform Weibo and Tencent Holdings' messaging app WeChat over "illegal" content appearing on their platforms.

Search engine giant Baidu, and Microsoft's search engine Bing, have been called out by the regulator for similar reasons. In December last year, the Chinese government ordered Microsoft to temporarily suspend the auto-suggest feature in the Bing search engine.

E-commerce platforms have not escaped scrutiny. Regulators held talks with five platforms, including Alibaba Group Holding's Taobao, JD.com, Pinduoduo, Xiaohongshu and Tencent's WeChat Store, as some of the online stores on their platforms contained "content that violates law and regulations". Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

In March, China's internet regulator said it deployed a special task force to the offices of popular social media platform Douban, known as a haven for relatively liberal online discussion, to rectify "serious online chaos".

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.