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Tencent cracks down on sexually provocative content on its QQ social network in ongoing online clean-up

China’s media regulator has launched investigations against some of the top websites and video-streaming platforms for allowing disturbing videos targeted at children

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 April, 2018, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 April, 2018, 10:56pm

Tencent has suspended hundreds of accounts in a crackdown on the distribution of sexually provocative content by and to under 18-year-olds through its QQ social network.

QQ “sealed and stopped” 280 groups and 600 accounts on its network after receiving tip-offs that minors were posting erotic literature, according to a statement on its official WeChat account dated April 20. In the first quarter, Tencent shut down 54,000 pornographic groups, removed almost 40,000 pornography-related posts and stopped more than 2,000 forums on its QQ network. The Shenzhen-based company said it will refer “serious cases” to the police.

“The young are the motherland’s flower, QQ’s safety team has always taken their protection on the internet very seriously, especially when it relates to pornography,” the company said in the statement.

Tencent and Baidu in China censor’s crosshairs for allowing disturbing children’s videos

The young are the motherland’s flower
Tencent

The clean-up in China has run parallel to a growing debate in the US over the role and responsibility of social networks like Facebook in policing speech and content, amid wider concerns whether social media is exacerbating divisions in society. Facebook released a 27-page document on Tuesday detailing its definitions of hate speech, violent threats and sexual exploitation as part of its disclosure on the rules governing its taking down of content once it is reported to the company’s moderators.

Internet companies in both the US and China are hiring more human moderators to monitor and judge content. Facebook has increased the number of content reviewers by 40 per cent to 7,500. Toutiao, China’s most popular news site that gathers and distributes others’ work, is looking to hire 2,000 content reviewers, with a preference for Communist Party members. The company already has around 4,000 employees dedicated to the task of scrubbing its site of inappropriate material. 

Toutiao hiring 2,000 content reviewers, with Party members top of its target list

The latest crackdown on Chinese internet companies ranging from live streaming sites to news providers has seen executives from the offending companies issue apologies to the public and regulators.

Alibaba Group, the parent company of the South China Morning Post, operates video-streaming site Youku Tudou.