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China fines tech giants for distributing sexually suggestive content featuring minors

Summary List PlacementChinese tech giants including Alibaba's Taobao, Tencent QQ, social media site Weibo, short video platform Kuaishou, and Chinese online shopping platform Little Red Book, have been fined for distributing content that exploits minors on their platforms, the Cyberspace administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on...

In this photo illustration the Chinese online shopping website owned by Alibaba Group, Taobao logo seen displayed on a smartphone with the word cancelled on a computer screen.

Summary List Placement

Chinese tech giants including Alibaba’s Taobao, Tencent QQ, social media site Weibo, short video platform Kuaishou, and Chinese online shopping platform Little Red Book, have been fined for distributing content that exploits minors on their platforms, the Cyberspace administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The Chinese internet regulator said the companies were fined for the distribution of “soft pornography” sticker packs featuring minors and videos of underage children behaving in a sexually suggestive manner. The companies have also been ordered to scrub their sites of related content. 

Tencent, Alibaba, and Little Red Book did not immediately respond to queries from Insider. 

The fines were part of China’s wider crackdown on regulating the internet for young people, with the CAC saying that it wanted to “create a healthy online environment for minors.”

Under the campaign “Summer cleanup of the internet for minors,” the CAC issued a blanket ban on young people under 16 from appearing on livestreams, which have become an extremely popular way for Chinese e-commerce sites to sell goods. 

The statement did not detail how the agency is going to impose the ban, which would likely be left up to companies to comply. 

The internet regulator said the move is aimed at preventing young people from “worshipping money” and selling “extravagant pleasure.” The CAC also pledged to clean up videos and animations containing violence. 

Popular e-commerce sites in China, like Taobao and Little Red Book, have come under fire from the public and state media in recent months over the use of sexually suggestive photos and videos of minors to sell items, reported AP.

The move by the CAC was welcomed by Weibo users, with the hashtag “banning under 16s from livestreaming” trending on China’s Twitter-like platform. 

This is not the first time China is regulating online activities for minors. In 2018, it banned users under 14 from signing up for Weibo, and in 2019, it imposed a ban on young people under 18 from playing video games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.  Earlier this month, Tencent rolled out a midnight patrol that uses facial recognition to boot out under 18s from playing video games at night. 

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