CHINA Short video platforms face strengthened regulation, which requires least 1 reviewer for per 1,000 videos


Short video platforms face strengthened regulation, which requires least 1 reviewer for per 1,000 videos

Global Times

05:29, January 11, 2019


A netizen views a performance by two web hosts on Douyin, a Chinese short video platform. (Photo: IC)

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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