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China has taken the country’s social media platforms to task for the lack of privacy and safety of children using the Internet.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) singled out Kuaishou, Tencent's messaging tool QQ, Alibaba's Taobao, and Weibo for not cleaning up seven types of illegal content.

Even though the platforms were given a deadline to take down the content, CAC has fined them for endangering minors' physical and mental health.

What are the seven types of illegal content?

  • Children on live streams and becoming social media influencers, promoting "money worship" and extravagance.

  • Pornographic and violent content.

  • Inappropriate cartoons that had erotic and violent content.

  • Forums that encourage behavior like suicide or engaging in child porn.

  • Fan clubs where children were involved in fundraising activities.

  • "Bad social behavior" such as cyberbullying.

  • Inadequate measures to combat youth internet addiction.

Why does this matter?

  • China’s legislature passed a data security law in June 2020 laying out rules for how customer data is used, collected, developed, and protected, and providing a legal basis for the country to request data from tech companies.

  • China is now one of the countries with the most regulated data control after passing a cybersecurity law in 2017. It has since introduced laws to regulate data collection practices and the use of personal data and limit anti-competitive practices.

  • China previously forced app stores operating in the country to remove ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing’s app on the grounds of illegal collection of personal data.

  • Didi was among 34 tech companies being investigated by Chinese antitrust watchdogs in April, which have conducted on-site inspections of Didi.

  • In March, Alibaba was told to give up its media properties over fears that the e-commerce giant has become too influential.