Briefing: After official censure for vulgar content, Sina suspends apps for a month
Apr 18, 2019
Sina suspends apps for a month after reprimand by Beijing regulator for failure to moderate content – South China Morning Post
What happened: On Wednesday, the Beijing Office of Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission announced on WeChat that internet company Sina had spread false and vulgar content on its content platforms, and was a “bad influence.” The post also said that Sina had volunteered to suspend updates for its desktop Sina Blog application, as well as take down its mobile Sina News and Sina Blog apps, for one month to fix issues. Weibo, the uber-popular microblogging platform also run by Sina, wasn’t mentioned in the post.
Why it’s important: Although cleanup campaigns have been a regular feature of Chinese cyberspace for the last year and more, a month-long suspension for apps is unusually long. Last April, for instance, authorities enforced the suspension of major news apps Jinri Toutiao, Phoenix News, NetEase News, and Tiantian News for time periods ranging from three days and three weeks after similar criticism. However, the pressure on online content companies to police their platforms is well documented. At Toutiao’s parent company Bytedance, for instance, one-quarter of its 40,000-strong workforce are content monitors, The Information reported this month. China’s crackdown on online content has been unevenly enforced, but it may point to a growing global trend: besides Australia’s new restriction on social media companies, India’s Supreme Court will rule this month on whether to ban Bytedance’s TikTok app for pornographic content and predatory user behavior.