Popular apps still provide pornographic info despite recent crackdown

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/21 19:23:39

Some Chinese people have started to scale back on social media to gain better control over their time and to improve personal relationships. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Some Chinese social media platforms still allow prostitution services, offer pornographic information and have low restrictions for minor users after the nation's cyberspace authority shut down nine similar platforms last week.

A Global Times reporter found on Sunday that a social media app called Touch's shop section mainly sells adult products including sexy underwear on the homepage, and the female host engaged in flirtatious behavior while chatting to users.

The reporter could just click the option "I'm 18 years old" before entering the chat room without providing an ID check. Some other apps even do not even have an age limit, and those who are above the age of 9 can register. 

A large number of users use voice-based social media platforms to sell pornographic videos and photos, and offered paid audio chats that allegedly involve pornographic content. In some online chat rooms, the female hosts are required to reveal their legs and chests in their profile photos, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.

These alleged illegal activities came after nine social media platforms, including "liaoliao," "bilin" and "miyu," were shut down by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Tuesday for disseminating pornographic information, soliciting prostitutes and selling pornographic audio and video products.

Meanwhile, it is technically difficult to identify illegal voice information and conduct effective supervision of voice-based social media platforms, as online chatting involves privacy, Zhao Zhanling, a legal counsel of the Beijing-based Internet Society of China, told the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.

"Authorities should increase the penalties for apps. Their developers are unlikely to take the risk if the fine is much more than they earn," Fang Binxing, an expert on network information security at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Global Times on Sunday.

At the same time, authorities should increase technical supervision to discover illegal information, and introduce electronic ID cards to identify whether users are minors, Fang said.

Illegal social media platforms seriously threaten public safety, damaged the legitimate rights and interests of netizens, caused great harm to society and must be strictly dealt with. The CAC will strengthen supervision and inspection of social media platforms, regulate industry behavior and encourage netizens to report illegal information and platforms.


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