Bilibili promises to enhance regulation of its videos following government crackdown

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Video streaming platform Bilibili has responded to the government-imposed removal of its app from Chinese apps stores by saying that the company intends to fully cooperate with authorities.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), along with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the Ministry of Public Security and three other government agencies, has led a crackdown on low-quality and pirated content, in which Bilibili was targeted.

The sanctions, which were imposed on 19 video platforms, were a result of “vulgar, violent, pornographic or pirated content, and promoting distorted information,” according to authorities. Bilibili’s app has been removed for a period of one month, from July 26 to August 25.

“Bilibili will continue to proactively fulfill its corporate social responsibility, enhance its self-regulation and welcome public supervision to provide better content services for users,” the company said in a statement.

While the temporary ban will not affect existing users, it prevents prospective newcomers to the platform from downloading the app, thereby hurting its traffic. However, the company said the ban would not affect its daily operations.

Regulators have approached online content with increased scrutiny this year, with companies having to police their platforms with extra vigilance in order to escape the clutches of government intervention. Most recently, Douyin removed over 33,000 user accounts, along with 27,578 short videos and 9,415 audio files as part of a cleanup campaign.

In April, the country’s media regulator led a sweeping crackdown on online content. Bytedance’s Jinri Toutiao and Kuaishou were ordered to better manage their content. Shortly after, Jinri Toutiao and two other news aggregators had their apps removed from app stores in the country.

Bytedance was again targeted though Toutiao after it was ordered to permanently close its Neihan Duanzi (内涵段子 “implied jokes”) app for its vulgar content. The company 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, a move that led to numerous lawsuits between the company and Bytedance.