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Chinese media watchdog orders Toutiao and Kuaishou to remove inappropriate content

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 6:34pm

China’s media watchdog ordered news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and live-streaming app Kuaishou to clean up content on their platforms, just days after state media criticised both platforms for hosting misleading medical advertisements and inappropriate content. 

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) on Wednesday posted a statement to its official WeChat account, singling out both platforms for disregarding regulations and “disrupting order” in the online media and entertainment industry.

Toutiao and Kuaishou were ordered to remove content that was “vulgar, violent, gory, pornographic and harmful” from its sites, and they are banned from letting new users register while the platforms conduct checks on existing users.

The watchdog also called for both platforms to reduce the number of uploads and online broadcasts and prevent unaudited programmes from being broadcast. Management at both Toutiao and Kuaishou have also been called in for questioning and the internal teams responsible for reviewing and auditing content should also be investigated, the statement said.

China’s largest news aggregator shamed by state media for misleading medical ads

The crackdown comes days after state media named and shamed Toutiao for publishing misleading and harmful online medical advertisements on its site, echoing the criticism levelled against internet search giant Baidu after a university student died seeking alternative treatments for cancer after seeing such medical advertisements from the company.

Earlier this week state media also called out Kuaishou for hosting videos that feature teenage mothers, claiming to be aged 13 or 14, holding newborns in their arms or appearing on video looking pregnant. As the minimum legal age in China for marriage is 22 for men and 20 for women, such videos were seen to be promoting so-called wrong life values. 

China takes popular news app Toutiao offline for 24 hours over pornographic content

The latest moves come amid what appears to be a state media-led crackdown to clean up and regulate the country’s cyberspace.

Toutiao and Kuaishou both issued apologies in public statements following the criticism and said that the inappropriate content has been removed, pledging to do more to prevent such incidents from occurring again.