Short video platform Meipai (美拍) has been criticized by regulators for spreading vulgar content and negatively affecting the physical and mental health of young people. The Meitu-owned platform has been ordered to abide by local regulations and make relevant changes.
According to reports, the country’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), had imposed penalties on the platform for failing to abide by previous rectification orders. A CAC investigation found that the company had not properly managed video content and ignored public morals and opinions. The CAC said Meipai disseminated sexual content for the purpose of driving traffic.
China’s media regulator, the State Administration of Radio and Television (SART), and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have proposed similar correction frameworks. A Meipai representative said the company would stop updating its live streaming channel for 15 days, halt updates to its “Popular” channel for 30 days, shut down its “Campus” channel, and conduct a review of the content on the platform. It also said it would develop a framework to protect young people.
In December 2017, Meipai announced a drive to increase self-censorship, remove underage users, and undergo a real name verification process for existing users.
2018 has seen an increase in government intervention and removal of “inappropriate” content from online platforms. In April, Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao and Kuaishou were ordered to better manage their content. Shortly after, Jinri Toutiao, Phoenix News, and NetEase News had their apps removed from numerous app stores in the country.
Toutiao was again targeted after it was ordered to permanently close its Neihan Duanzi (内涵段子 “implied jokes”) app for its vulgar content. Bytedance also temporarily removed the ability to live stream content in its Douyin app. The crackdown on short videos was followed by Tencent announcing it would remove the ability to play these videos within its messaging apps WeChat and QQ.
Social media platform Weibo also joined in the self-censorship drive. It announced plans to remove homosexually-themed content from its network. However, it later retracted the statement following public outcry.