China to strengthen measures against cyber violence
Published: Nov 05, 2022 12:02 AM
Cybersecurity. Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's top cyberspace regulator on Friday published a notice asking local authorities to strengthen governance against cyber violence, including measures to improve prevention and alert mechanisms and enhance protection of people involved.

The notice was issued after the death of a high school teacher surnamed Liu in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province. The teacher's daughter posted news of Liu's death online, saying her mother had heart problems and died suddenly on October 30 after suffering cyberbullying since October.

People who were not her students somehow entered the online course session, insulting the teacher and playing music to disturb order, the daughter said.

Though the connection between Liu's experience and her death has not been verified, the incident prompted heated discussions online with many netizens calling for strengthened regulation of online course platforms and measures to prevent similar situations.

In the notice, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) asked websites and platforms to establish a database to better identify cyber bullying content.

The relevant entities should set up models incorporating indicators such as the person targeted, the number of netizens involved and the content of the abuse to identify and to be alert to cyber violence.

A special taskforce should be organized to monitor situations including a surge in private messages and real-time searches to locate abnormal activity, according to the notice.

Regarding protection of the people involved, the CAC said websites and platforms should provide "one button" protection — enabling users to block messages, comments and reposts from strangers. They should also remind users about the protection when the mechanism identifies cyber violence risks.

Procedures to report cyber violence should be simplified and a victim should be able to collect relevant records as proof. Cyber bullying of minors should be prioritized.

The CAC also urged websites and platforms to improve management of comment sections and to dissolve online chat groups involved in cyber violence. They should also step up regulation of livestreaming and short video platforms.

Local authorities should issue official information in a timely way, guiding netizens to express themselves in a rational manner and jointly fight against cyber violence, read the notice.

The notice clearly stated that accounts involved in cyber violence should be handled properly and hyping hot topics to attract attention or for self-promotion must be cracked down upon.

Websites and platforms will be punished if they fail to tackle cyber violence, including fines, suspension and being shut down.

Global Times