Chinese Regulators Crack Down on Social Media, Livestreaming ‘Chaos’

The country's top cyberspace regulator aims to ramp up regulations targeting the livestreaming industry to protect minors and prevent rumor-mongering

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11:24 PM HKT, Mon March 21, 2022 1 mins read

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is purging the Chinese internet of ‘chaotic phenomena’ and keeping tabs on perceived wrongdoings on livestreams, short-video platforms, social media, and the internet at large.

The country’s top internet regulator announced the above during a press conference held last Thursday, March 17. The cyberspace authority also released a list of the top 10 priorities for its 2022 ‘Clear and Bright’ Campaign, which authorities first introduced in 2020.

According to the CAC, this year’s campaign aims to ramp up regulations targeting the livestreaming industry. Not only are plans being put in place to prevent minors from being used as kid influencers, but disgraced celebrities are also barred from appearing on livestreaming platforms.

Additionally, the campaign strives to ‘clean up’ Chinese cyberspace for minors during the summer holidays. One means to protect minors’ health and to ensure a safe space for online studies is for online platforms to implement parental controls or kid-friendly modes.

The campaign’s other priorities include rooting out false rumors on the Chinese internet. On this note, the CAC stressed the importance of fact-checking viral posts.

Impersonators, specifically online accounts pretending to be official government institutions or news organizations, will face severe consequences.

The deputy director of CAC also dropped some drastic figures, revealing that in 2021, the campaign had suspended more than 1.3 billion social media accounts and removed 22 million illegal posts.

On Weibo, the hashtag for the campaign’s news conference had accumulated more than 700 million views at the time of writing. Scores of comments show support for the new priorities.

“Please remove the accounts of irresponsible media and spammers,” reads one remark.

“I hope people can be civil and refrain from spreading rumors on social media platforms,” chimed in another netizen.

The 2022 Clear and Bright Campaign follows months of scrutiny towards celebrities and livestreamers in China. In 2020, the Clear and Bright Campaign targeted fan culture and ‘irrational’ idol worship on the Chinese internet.

More recently, in November 2021, China banned 88 celebrities and influencers for ‘bad behavior.’ Then in December 2021, Chinese social media prohibited the use of profane words as part of the aforementioned campaign.

Cover image via Unsplash

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