China wants to censor all social media comments


For new changes Provisions Regarding the Administration of Internet Post Comment Servicesa regulation that came into force for the first time in 2017. Five years later, the Cyberspace Administration wants to update it.

“The proposed revisions first update the current version of the ‘review rules’ to align with the language and policies of more recent authorities, such as new laws on protection of personal information, data security and general content regulations.” says Jeremy Daum, Senior Research Fellow at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center.

The terms cover a wide range of “comments”, including forum posts, replies, messages left on public message boards, and “comments”.bullet chats” (An innovative way that video platforms in China use to display real-time comments above the video). All formats including text, symbols, gifs, images, sounds and videos are subject to this regulation.

Eric Liu, a former censor for Weibo and now researching Chinese censorship at the China Digital Times, says there is a need for independent regulation on comments, because too many comments make it harder to censor as strictly as other content like articles or videos.

“One thing everyone in the censorship industry knows is that no one pays attention to the replies and bullet chats. They are managed carelessly with minimal effort,” says Liu.

Recently, however, there have been a few odd cases where comments under government Weibo accounts either point to government lies or dismiss the official narrative. This may be what triggered the editor’s proposed update.

Chinese social platforms are currently at the forefront of censorship efforts. actively removing posts before the government and other users see them. ByteDance famously employs thousands of content reviewers. generating the most employees in the company. Other companies also outsource from “hire censorship” firms, including one It belongs to the People’s Daily, China’s party spokesperson. platforms often punished for letting things slide.

Beijing is constantly improving its social media control, fixing loopholes and introducing new restrictions. But the uncertainty of recent revisions has people worried that the government may be ignoring practical difficulties. For example, if the new rule to enforce pre-release reviews were to be strictly enforced (effectively reading the billions of public messages sent by Chinese users every day), it would force platforms to dramatically increase how many people they employ to censor. The difficult question is, no one knows whether the government intends to implement this immediately.


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