Tencent suspends video playback in its messaging apps

Tencent has suspended the ability to play short videos in its WeChat and QQ messaging apps, requiring users to copy the link and paste it in their browser to the view the videos, local media is reporting.

The suspension will prevent users from viewing videos from the company’s own Weishi platform, along with content from Douyin, Kuaishou, and Xigua Video.

The move comes amidst a broader crackdown on online content. Bytedance’s apps have received a great deal of attention from China’s media regulator, The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT). Last week, it was told to better control the “inappropriate” content on its Jinri Toutiao platform.  Issuing the same order to Kuaishou, SAPPRFT said that dealing with vulgar content was of “high importance.”

Shortly after the order, Jinri Toutiao, along with Phoenix News and NetEase news had their apps suspended from various app stores in the country.

Toutiao was again targeted this week after it was ordered to permanently close its Neihan Duanzi (内涵段子 “implied jokes”) app for its inappropriate content. The platform offered a selection of short videos, jokes, photos, and memes.  The company’s CEO and founder Zhang Yiming later apologized, saying the that the company took full responsibility for the app being shut down.

“The content that appears [on Neihan Duanzi] goes against core socialist values, and we did not do a thorough job in guiding public opinion,” he said in an open letter.

The company also temporarily disabled live streaming and comments in its short video app Douyin (抖音), saying the platform is currently undergoing a “system upgrade” and that the features would return following the enhancements.