Short video plat­forms reg­u­lated

▶ At least 1 re­viewer re­quired for 1,000 videos: as­so­ci­a­tion

Global Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Zhang Han

An in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion of Chi­nese In­ter­net con­tent providers on Wed­nes­day en­acted a 1,000-video re­view stan­dard for short video plat­forms to fil­ter in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tents, in­clude those that at­tack the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal and le­gal sys­tems, re­veal na­tional se­crets and smear a na­tional hero’s im­age.

China Net­cast­ing Ser­vices As­so­ci­a­tion (CNSA), one of the big­gest as­so­ci­a­tions of Chi­nese In­ter­net in­dus­try, is­sued a reg­u­la­tion and a de­tailed con­tent re­view stan­dard on its web­site on Wed­nes­day.

The reg­u­la­tion stip­u­lates that no videos or com­ments should be re­leased be­fore a re­view. The re­view should also in­clude head­lines and in­tro­duc­tion of the video, as well as com­ments writ­ten by view­ers.

The as­so­ci­a­tion also gave short video plat­forms a 100-ar­ti­cle de­tailed stan­dard to clar­ify which con­tents are for­bid­den from be­ing pub­lished, such as videos that pro­mote separatism and ham­per the na­tion’s im­age, crit­i­cize the Con­sti­tu­tion and smear the lead­er­ship of Com­mu­nist Party of China.

Those who sing dis­torted ver­sions of the na­tional an­them and stain na­tional flags in short videos are also tar­gets of the rule.

The stan­dard also re­quires plat­forms to pro­hibit videos jok­ing on clas­sics and his­toric fig­ures and clips mock­ing po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of other coun­tries. Con­tents pro­mot­ing “neg­a­tive” life­styles, such as he­do­nism and money wor­ship, shall not pass the re­view.

In or­der to en­sure there will be enough peo­ple to ex­am­ine the mount­ing num­ber of videos posted ev­ery day, the reg­u­la­tion stip­u­lates that plat­forms should as­sign at least one re­viewer for ev­ery 1,000 videos up­loaded to the plat­form ev­ery day.

This means re­view­ing all of the videos would be a lot of work for op­er­a­tors like Douy­ing, Chi­nese ver­sion of TikTok, and Kuaishou, a short video app, which have 150 mil­lion and 266 mil­lion daily ac­tive users in July 2018, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to the Xin­hua News Agency.

Zhang Yong, a play­writer who has about 910,000 fol­low­ers on Sina Weibo un­der name “Zhang Xiaobei,” is wor­ried that the “red lines” are too am­bigu­ous in prac­tice, based on his ex­pe­ri­ences in the film in­dus­try.

Douy­ing in April ex­panded its re­view team to 10,000 em­ploy­ees and Kuaishou re­cruited 3,000 more to do the work, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Na­tional Busi­ness Daily on Thurs­day.

Both Douy­ing and Kuaishou de­clined to an­swer when asked by the Global Times what im­pact the new reg­u­la­tion will have on them.

Con­sid­er­ing an ex­plod­ing amount of videos be­ing up­loaded ev­ery day, re­cruit­ing hu­man re­view­ers is not vi­able in the long run, Qin An, head of the Bei­jing-based In­sti­tute of China Cy­berspace Strat­egy, told the Global Times on Thurs­day.

Tech­ni­cians are de­vel­op­ing sys­tems that can iden­tify in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­tents in videos as ac­cu­rately as that for texts, Qin said.

“The reg­u­la­tion is not new; it just in­te­grates sep­a­rate rules into one stan­dard,” said an em­ployee sur­named Qian from the lead­ing video plat­form Bili­bili.

“I do not think the reg­u­la­tion will in­flu­ence users much be­cause I only browse con­tents that I am in­ter­ested in. But from my un­der­stand­ing, the op­er­a­tor will have to spend much more to man­age its plat­form,” said a Douyin user sur­named Chen.

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