Chinese authorities fine Chinese tech firms for implicit child pornography content on platform

Alibaba's TaoBao, Tencent's QQ, Kuaishou, Xiaohongshu and Weibo have all been summoned by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) to "clean up" all illegal content on their platforms. The companies have been fined as Chinese authorities continue to crackdown on tech companies.

On its official Weibo account, CAC said these internet companies were found to have disseminated "implicit" pornography emoticons on their platforms, and using short videos containing minors' sexual suggestions to attract views. CAC summoned these platforms and ordered them to rectify the problems, in addition to removing posts, messages and accounts that were against the law. 

The latest move is part of CAC's action to clean up the internet for minors during summer vacation. According to the CAC, the action is aimed at addressing several problems that may harm minors' physical and mental health.

First, CAC said it is related to livestreaming events or short video platforms involving minors. Minors aged under 16 are prohibited to star in any livestreaming programme. The CAC will strictly investigate any case related to children influencer, ban any activities luring minors to reward hosts, prohibit people from flaunting their wealth or expressing hedonism. Second, CAC will remove explicit, violent and inappropriate content on online education platforms; ban messages such as online games or entertainment that are irrelevant to education. Third, CAC will remove video content related to terror, violence and instigating crime, as well as animes that contain lewd, violent and inappropriate behaviours that may attract minors to follow.

Other issues include online forums disseminating "implicit" pornography emoticons, luring minors to commit suicide together and filming explicit content. CAC also requires social media platforms to address the problems of spending a lot of money on idols, trolling other social media accounts, doxxing, leaving personal remarks, maliciously reporting other people among other cyberbullying actions. Lastly, CAC also aims to prevent minors from addicting to the internet.

The authority reiterated that amid the action, CAC would exercise heavier punishment to any action violating the regulations, adopt a "zero-tolerance" attitude to address problems on the internet that harm minors' physical and mental health. It also requires the social media platforms to proactively investigate, report, and fix the problems to ensure the success of the action, offering minors a healthy, civilised and motivated environment. 

Meanwhile, heavyweight Chinese internet companies such as Alibaba and Tencent received a hefty fine by China’s anti-monopoly regulators. A total of 22 companies were fined 500,000 yuan (US$75,000) each for acquiring stakes in companies that could improperly build their market share, said the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on its website. According to SAMR, the parties fined include six companies owned by Alibaba Group, five by Tencent Holdings and two by retailer Suning.com.

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