Chinese authorities shut education app and issue fines as part of ongoing ‘clean up’ of vulgar and pornographic content
- China’s online education market is forecast to grow 20 per cent annually, reaching US$41 billion in 2019
Chinese authorities closed an education app and fined companies as part of the country’s ongoing campaign to “clean up” online platforms that contain “vulgar and pornographic content”.
The use of mobile education apps has been growing in recent years but the problem of piracy, vulgar content and pornography within some apps has become serious, according to a statement issued Monday by The Office of Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications.
After reviewing over 20 education apps, the authority ordered HDzuoye to close its mobile app and pay a fine of 50,000 yuan (US$7,289) and required Namibox to remove problematic parts of its app and pay a fine of 80,000 yuan.
The punishment comes amid a wider Chinese government push to remove what it considers inappropriate content from the internet, including some mobile games, reflecting ongoing concerns over online information as the country seeks to direct the use of technology to upgrade its schooling system.
“The rapid development of the internet has driven various innovations but the phenomena of pursuing profit but ignoring social responsibility exists during the process,” said the Office, which closed 26,000 websites and confiscated 15.9 million illegal publications during 2018. “It is our important duty to protect the mental and physical health of youth,” it said.
China’s Education Ministry issued a notice on December 28 banning “harmful” apps from primary and secondary schools, including violent online games and apps considered to be commercial advertising. Enterprises that do not comply will be permanently banned from providing products to the education industry.
A commentary by Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily said on Tuesday that China’s educational authorities need to take effective measures to prevent harmful apps from being used in primary and secondary schools.
The tighter monitoring of content in the online education sector comes as new technologies such as live-streaming, legitimate educational apps and online classes are being used in Chinese education as part of the nation’s embrace of big data and artificial intelligence.
China’s online education market is forecast to grow 20 per cent annually, reaching 270 billion yuan (US$41 billion) in 2019, up from 156 billion yuan in 2016, according to statistics from iResearch.