Censorship in China

China’s video app to add 3,000 content reviewers, Communist Party members preferred

Kuaishou is seeking to clean up its online content by recruiting content reviewers after being criticised by China’s media watchdog agency

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 1:23pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 April, 2018, 2:45pm

Kuaishou, a popular short-video sharing app in China, is seeking to add another 3,000 employees to police its content after the country’s media watchdog criticised it for “disrupting order”.

The Beijing-based start-up, which counts Chinese internet giants Tencent Holdings and Baidu as shareholders, is working to expand its content reviewing team from 2,000 to 5,000 as part of its efforts to reshape itself as a content platform that promotes “healthy value and positive energy”, according to a statement posted on its Weibo social media account.

The company has started advertising for content reviewers on several Chinese hiring websites, looking for candidates with “good political awareness and political sensitivities” with a preference for Communist Party members.

The move comes after China’s top media watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, last week singled out Kuaishou and Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao for disregarding regulations and “disrupting order” in the online media and entertainment industry.

Chinese media watchdog orders Toutiao and Kuaishou to remove inappropriate content

The regulator ordered the two platforms to remove content that was “vulgar, violent, gory, pornographic and harmful” from its sites, and banned them from registering new users before completing checks on existing users.

Social networking companies globally are under increased scrutiny over the role and responsibility they have in distributing news and other content. YouTube, the video website owned by Google and blocked in China, has pledged to have more than 10,000 employees in 2018 to vet and remove inappropriate content such as violent and extremist videos. Facebook has been under fire for its role in disseminating fake news and more recently for data-privacy scandal involving improper data harvesting of millions of personal profiles. 

Kuaishou, which reportedly has more than 200 million monthly active users, said it has taken down more than 50,000 questionable short videos and blocked more than 11,000 users by Friday.

China has shut down more than 13,000 websites in the last three years as Beijing sought to tighten its grip on the internet. The government has blocked access to many overseas websites as part of what is commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall”.