What happened: Since a new online cleanup campaign launched at the beginning of January, more than 700 websites and 9,300 apps have been shut down, according to internet regulator the Cyber Administration of China. Seven million items have also been deleted. A high-profile target of the crackdown is Tencent’s Tiantian Kuaibao news app, which was accused of spreading “vulgar and lowbrow content.” News services run by Baidu and Sohu have also come under fire.
Why it’s important: The current campaign, which is scheduled to last six months, is notable for the rate at which apps and sites have been singled out and taken down. While China has long monitored its online environment, the recent release of new rules for short videos and the latest takedown of content deemed inappropriate or harmful represent a further tightening of restrictions. The changes are impacting internet companies large and small. They’re also setting a new precedent for how much, and how, public organizations can take responsibility for a herculean task—attempting to control the internet.