Popular Chinese news apps suspended

By Yin Han Source:Global Times Published: 2018/4/9 23:03:39

Rampant illegal online content requires harsher penalties: analysts

Four popular Chinese news apps were reportedly removed from online stores, but observers said law enforcement efforts are far from enough and should be further enhanced because of rampant illegal online products.

"In order to regulate the dissemination of information, internet application stores should suspend downloading access to the four apps Toutiao, Phoenix News, NetEase News and Tiantian Kuaibao," Southern Weekly reported on Monday, citing information obtained from application platforms.

The report did not specify which kind of content in the apps was deemed in violation of regulations.

The report said downloading access to the four apps will be suspended starting Monday. The suspension will last three weeks for Toutiao, two weeks for Phoenix News, one week for NetEase News and three days for Tiantian Kuaibao.

The official versions of the four apps are available for download on the iOS app store as of press time, but could not be found on the app store for Android smartphones. However, versions developed by the same companies are still available for download, such as Toutiao Jisuban and Tiantian Kuaibao Daziban.

The platforms did not provide detailed information when reached by the Global Times.

Complaints about the heavy advertising, fake news and vulgar content of apps have been rising in recent years.

"Some news portals are running without qualifications, and have been publishing fake news or news that contains wrong political information, which could easily mislead people, especially the young and elderly," Wang Sixin, a law professor at the Beijing-based Communication University of China, told Global Times on Monday.

To better regulate the market, government regulators should strengthen law enforcement and impose harsher penalties on news platforms that publish illegal content, Wang suggested.

Wang also noted that effective communication between news portals and the government should be conducted and the public should be encouraged to provide information on illegal content on online products.

The Cyber Administration of China on Wednesday ordered Huoshan, a livestreaming site run by Toutiao, to make changes to its practices.

The agency accused it of allowing minors to spread harmful content, Xinhua News Agency reported, which did not specify the nature of the forbidden content. 

Since March, 70 online applications suspected of involvement in pornography or gambling have been taken down, Xinhua reported.

China has launched three campaigns against illicit cultural content to foster a "positive" and "healthy" cultural environment.

A cyberspace regulation campaign will target pornographic content on mobile applications, live-streaming platforms, online games, chat groups, and pop-up ads, Xinhua reported on Monday.

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