Spotlight on cyber violence, rumors makes movie a sensation
Published: Mar 24, 2023 12:38 AM
Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

Illustration: Hang Dachuan/Global Times

In early March, a new film Post Truth, which focused on the damage to people and society done by irresponsible online rumors, became a hit soon after it debuted. 

The film tells the story of a middle-aged man named Wei Pingan who works as a cemetery plot salesman. Hearing porn rumors about his deceased client, he embarks on a difficult journey to track down the source of the rumors. 

Highlighting the low cost of cooking up online rumors and how difficult it is to protect one's rights against such slander, the film aims to advocate the values of truth and justice and warn society to not believe in or spread rumors. Shot in a comedic style, audiences can experience the ridiculousness of how a rumor spreads, sparking empathy between the filmmaker and the audience. 

Since its debut, the film has earned more than 400 million yuan ($58.6 million) at the box office, according to a report on Thursday, showing the public's recognition of the film and their abhorrence toward online rumors. Additionally, its popularity also signifies the rise of realist films and the progress of current Chinese films in keeping with the times and tackling social concerns.

Many audiences commented that a recent case involving a college student was a "real version" of the film. 

Recently, a female student at Suzhou University in East China's Jiangsu Province disclosed online that in May 2022 a male classmate posted some "obscene" photos and videos of her on a pornographic website and disclosed her personal information. It turned out the photos had been made by the male student using Photoshop. After an investigation, it was confirmed the student was guilty and he has been dismissed from the school.

Similarity, other cases of cyber violence have also occurred in the past few years, causing widespread concerns throughout society. 

In order to fight against online rumors and prevent cyber violence, the Cyberspace Administration of China has exerted great effort over the past few years to regulate websites where these crimes are frequently committed. In April 2022, a series of measures were adopted, including improving monitoring, tracking sources and exposing suspect websites. Specifically, the measures pushed for the establishment of identification and warning systems to promptly deal with cyber violence, filtering of private messages for content related to cyber violence and fast-tracking reporting to protect victims.

In November 2022, the administration further strengthened the governance of cyber violence. It intercepted 28.75 million messages with such content, sent 1.65 million warning posts to netizens and 28,000 households, and punished 22,000 accounts of abusers, effectively curbing cyber violence. 

However, preventing cyber violence is an ongoing effort. In additional to regular initiatives, all of society must pull together and build long-term, sustainable mechanisms. In this regard, this film has played a positive role in raising public awareness about rumors and the harm they cause, ensuring people will bravely stand up to stop their spread. 

More importantly, laws and regulations should be intensified to reduce the burden on victims looking to protect their rights. In this way we can maintain social order on the internet, and build a healthy and positive cyberspace.