Reg­u­lat­ing Short Video Plat­forms

Le­gal Daily May 29

Beijing Review - - This Week People & Points -

An 8-year-old boy in Xi’an, cap­i­tal of north­west China’s Shaanxi Prov­ince, re­cently im­i­tated a prank on a video-shar­ing app by stick­ing ad­he­sive tape to the frame of a door. As a re­sult, his 6-year-old brother was tricked and tripped, se­ri­ously in­jur­ing his teeth and jaw.

Short video plat­forms have taken off in China re­cently, with their users num­ber­ing around 353 mil­lion in 2018. How­ever, while many users seem sat­is­fied with these plat­forms, they are plagued by in­stances of vul­gar­ity and pornog­ra­phy, and cases of in­jury caused by peo­ple imitating short on­line videos.

These in­di­vid­u­als should be re­spon­si­ble for their own in­juries be­cause they chose to ig­nore the risks. But if those imitating videos are chil­dren, their guardians should be held ac­count­able. Yet the short video plat­forms also have their share of re­spon­si­bil­ity in such ac­ci­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to a reg­u­la­tion en­acted in 2016, video stream­ing web­sites should adopt a clas­si­fi­ca­tion sys­tem for their con­tent and la­bel their con­tent ac­cord­ingly. The plat­forms are es­sen­tially re­spon­si­ble for re­view­ing their con­tent be­fore pub­lish­ing it. Prob­lems caused by the imi­ta­tion of on­line videos in­di­cate that ser­vice providers have failed to review their con­tent strictly enough and to warn users of po­ten­tial risks. As the short on­line video in­dus­try thrives, com­pa­nies are fo­cused on scram­bling for a larger share of the mar­ket rather than reg­u­lat­ing their con­tent.

The government should over­haul the in­dus­try to make it more ra­tio­nal, healthy and bet­ter reg­u­lated while the plat­forms them­selves should not dis­re­gard laws and reg­u­la­tions when try­ing to at­tract cus­tomers and pur­sue prof­its.

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