Asia

China launches operation to clean up Internet content involving minors; fines platforms like QQ, Taobao

BEIJING – China’s Internet regulator on Wednesday (July 21) announced that it has censured and fined several platforms as part of efforts to clean up content involving minors.

Dubbed “Operation Fresh Summer Holidays Internet Cleanup”, the move by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) follows a series of actions in recent months as Beijing tightens its grip over the nation’s tech giants.

Those that were fined in Wednesday’s announcement included social media giant QQ, e-commerce site Taobao and social media app Xiaohongshu.

The CAC said in a statement that the move was aimed at resolving seven “prominent online problems” that were affecting the country’s youth.

Among the problems listed were: minors appearing on live streams to promote extravagance; pornographic and violent content; cartoons or animation that promote bad behaviour; forums that encourage toxic behaviour like attacking others and suicide; and the promotion of fan culture.

The various platforms have been given a deadline to take down content that violate the guidelines, and have also been slapped with a fine. The quantum of the fines was not stated and it is unclear how long the platforms have to remove the content.

“During the period of the operation, the punishment for violations of laws and regulations will increase, and the attitude of ‘zero tolerance’ will be maintained for those who infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of minors,” said a CAC spokesperson.

China’s Internet platforms have come under increased scrutiny in recent months. Late last year, guidelines were issued on what can be promoted via live streaming, banning the sales of counterfeit products.

Many live streamers, however, have gained Internet fame by offering an unvarnished look into their daily lives, or even those of their children.

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