Visit our new website: worldnews.easybranches.com

Apple in Hot Seat as China Targets Livestreaming Porn

  • Fri, 21 Apr 2017 18:45
(Caixin) An Internet supervisor’s rare decision to summon Apple Inc. representatives over livestreaming apps mirrors a broader fight against pornography in a fast-growing segment of China’s online entertainment industry.

As of Thursday in China, Apple had yet to comment on a Beijing Cyberspace Administration summons the tech giant was issued two days earlier.

Neither was it clear when regulators and company representatives might meet to discuss livestreaming apps downloadable from Apple’s App Store.

Apple is the first major app platform targeted by the government’s anti-porn initiative. Cyberspace officials Tuesday met representatives from app providers Toutiao, Huajiao and Huoshanzhibo to discuss online pornography, which is illegal in China.

The company representatives, whose apps are available on the Apple and Android platforms, were asked to bar livestreaming and videos posted by content providers containing provocative content.

Both companies agreed to cooperate.

Livestreaming apps have become enormously popular in China, where high-speed and mobile Internet access has spawned a huge online culture. Livestreaming app users can socialize with attractive women and men, watch others play video games, hear a musical performance or attend a math class.

About 25 such apps were available in China six years ago, according to a report by the search engine Baidu. The number had grown to 116 as of July 2016, and many more of these apps are thought to be operating today.

The nation’s livestreaming app audience totaled about 344 million people, or 47% of all Internet users in China, at the end of 2016, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center.

Regulators argue this online niche has gotten increasingly unruly, with some livestream providers broadcasting erotic content. Such content usually attracts the highest number of viewers.

A young woman who recently livestreamed herself through the Huoshanzhibo app changing clothes at 3 a.m. resulted in app viewership quickly spiking, according to a broadcast news report Sunday on state-run CCTV.

The television report came two days before regulators told Huoshanzhibo and other app operators to clean up their content.

Apple was the only app platform cited in the cyberspace administrator’s latest statement, although China’s Android stores offer livestreaming apps as well.

Apple’s iPhone, the only smartphone that can access its China App Store, controls 11% share of the China market, according to market data tracker IDC.

Earlier this month, the central government’s Cyberspace Administration of China said it shuttered 18 livestreaming apps, mainly for violating the pornography ban.

However, a Caixin search Thursday found seven of these 18 apps still available for downloading from Apple’s China store. An Android store operated by Huawei was offering none of the banned apps, though, while another popular Android platform called Wandoujia offered one app.

Apple did not respond to a Caixin request for comment.

Livestreaming app providers Huoshanzhibo and Huajiao said on their official Weibo blogs that they will improve monitoring and crack down on provocative content.

Toutiao, a news aggregator that lets users post items and view livestreams, said that it had found and removed 204 accounts whose content providers posted erotic material in March.

“The livestreaming industry has just reached a nascent stage, and all operators have to tap into the legal gray areas to grab users’ attention,” said Wang Sixin, a professor at the Communication University of China who heads a research center on cyberlaw and intellectual property.

Last year, the government took steps to clean up the industry by ordering livestream platforms to verify the identity of every user by requiring personal information such as mobile phone numbers.

Source: Caixin by Coco Feng China Technology News

Tags


Daily Deal

Related Stories

Will new HEVC and HEIF formats work in older versions of macOS and iOS?
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 18:16

Apple introduces two new abbreviations for its users at the WWDC event: HEVC for video and HEIF for images. These two forms promise to reduce file siz...

Beijing charts “stability” course as trouble rumbles in South China Sea
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 17:27

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday that Beijing wanted to maintain stability in the South China Sea as tensions rise in the disputed wate...

Southeast Asia's Grab to get $2.5 billion extra firepower in battle with Uber
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:49

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Southeast Asian ride-hailing service Grab expects to raise $ 2.5 billion in a record round of fundraising to cement its lead ov...

Dispatch from Doklam: Indians dig in for the long haul in standoff with China
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 15:15

As I travel up from eastern India’s Bagdogra airport to Gangtok and then to Indian army’s Nathang base near the fraught Doklam area, I cou...

VPN crackdown ‘unthinkable’ trial by firewall for China’s research world
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 14:47

(SCMP) Like most academics, biology ­researcher Dr Jose Pastor-Pareja relies heavily on Google’s search engine, using it “every 10 minutes”, ...

U.S. venture capital's digital coin quandary: cash-rich startups
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:43

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. venture capital firms lining up for a slice of the burgeoning digital currency market are grappling with a novel challenge -...

In Rural Oregon, Efforts To Bring In Large Data Centers Raise Housing Costs
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:45

In places like rural Oregon, politicians are working to bring in large data centers to town. It's great for folks who want good jobs but don't want to...

China Opens Movie Theater on Politically Contested South China Sea Island
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:53

Some 200 soldiers and "residents" attended a screening at the new 4K cinema on Woody Island, not far from where a U.S. warship sailed earlier this mon...

This Is Why China Hasn't Jumped on the Smart Speaker Bandwagon
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:50

(Bloomberg) When it comes to web businesses, China has created its own versions of a search engine (Baidu), e-commerce platform (Alibaba) and video-...

Strong demand for workers in China, so why aren’t wages rising?
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 10:02

China’s labour market remains tight and unemployment low. And yet – just like in the US, Europe and elsewhere – wages growth isn&rsq...

South China Sea: Vietnam halts drilling after 'China threats'
  • Mon, 24 Jul 2017 08:17

A gas operation in the disputed area has come to a forced stop after alleged threats from China. BBC News - Asia


News Categories