Beijing’s online watchdog has fined several of China’s largest technology groups, including Alibaba and Tencent, and warned of the presence of explicit material and the exploitation of children on their platforms.

The China Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement that it is responding to the proliferation of obscene pictures and videos including “child-related” pornography.

It did not specify how much these groups were fined, but on Wednesday, CAC subpoenaed e-commerce group Alibaba’s Taobao platform, Internet giant Tencent’s messaging app QQ, China’s largest social media platform Sina Weibo, and short video companies Kuaishou and Kuaishou. Popular executives. Fashion platform Xiaohongshu.

The regulator’s move marks the latest turmoil in Chinese technology companies.The department has been down Critical review Among Destructive changes Data in China and Antitrust Supervise laws and regulations.

On Wednesday, the two companies were told that children under the age of 16 are “strictly prohibited” from appearing in live video streams. They were also told to “clean up” those animated videos that “exposed characters, pornographic and vulgar plots, bloody horror scenes, and other dangerous behaviors.”

The Commission warned that it would adopt a “zero tolerance” approach and increase penalties for violations.

No group can immediately comment on the actions of the regulator.

After the announcement, the stocks of Tencent, Alibaba and Kuaishou all fell in Hong Kong.

CAC’s action on explicit content follows growing public attention and certain aspects of China’s official media calling for a solution to the online exploitation of young people.

The People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, criticized the lack of content supervision on online platforms in March, which opened the door to “pornographic and violent” live broadcasts. “The platform makes a lot of money, but young people suffer,” it said.

Nonetheless, experts point out that despite years of campaigns to clean up explicit content on the Chinese Internet in name, such materials have not become a priority for Beijing’s censorship agencies.

In his book China’s digital nationalism, Scholar Florian Schneider believes that, given the “complexity of Chinese censors’ monitoring networks,” a large amount of explicit content is “extremely unlikely” as “ignorance”.

“Considering the amazing revenue generated by online advertising in digital China, especially this way… The pornography industry is often at the forefront of digital commerce, and it seems likely that censors may be more sexy and radicalized for commercial consumption. Turn a blind eye,” wrote Schneider, a lecturer at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

According to McKinsey, since the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown in China last year, the population has gone from an already high base to “more digital.” The consulting firm found that before the pandemic, China’s 855 million digital consumers spent an average of 6 hours on their mobile phones a day, twice that of the United States.

In April, Chinese officials Be called to a meeting Many representatives of the largest financial technology companies in the country told them to “rectify” all the problems on their platforms.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma’s criticism of China’s banking regulator last year triggered a series of blows to the billionaire and his business empire.Earlier this month, CAC led to Didi Travel Stock price plummeted A few days after its $4.4 billion US initial public offering, the company banned the ride-hailing app from registering new users.

Additional report by Liu Nian in Beijing


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