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China Intends On Fine-Tuning Its Censorship And That Means Removing Billions Of Comments Posted Online

In what is being deemed as a radical measure by many, China is now on the verge of giving its censorship machine a fine-tuning upgrade. And that could well mean that the billions of comments that are posted across social media will no longer be allowed.

The news was announced last week by the country’s CAC which put forward a new draft update that highlighted the great responsibilities that come with the platform. This includes the added responsibility on the shoulders of content creators to better manage the comments thrown their way on different pages.

One of the lines that really stood out was related to how all comments would now have to undergo a preview session, right before they could be posted online. But so many people reading these new rules see it as a measure being used by the government to further restrict freedom of speech.

The document that was mentioned was first released in 2017 but it has undergone some serious upgrades and it’s safe to say that it’s not all for the better. The CAC which is the country’s regulatory body revealed how the new updates are being done to help better protect users and their data.

Moreover, in terms of what context will exactly be reviewed, well, the answer has to do with almost anything and everything. This includes replies to messages, posts seen on various forums, messages last left on different boards that are viewed publicly, also comments located at the top portion of a video. And most importantly, all types of texts and fonts would be included like GIFs, animations, emojis, and more.

While some tech analysts do feel a certain standard was needed to help better control what was being published across the country, it’s not quite clear if people are liking the news about such stringent measures being taken as a whole because it’s quite controlling behavior.

Yes, most replies are moderated poorly, and not too many individuals are paying attention to these chats or any of these replies. But we do feel the time has come for citizens to raise their voices before it’s too late because this is just the beginning.

Chinese officials are becoming increasingly worried about comments now, ever since a range of accounts and the message replies went public without any scrutiny. They are said to have exposed some shocking truths that went as far as pointing out lies of the Government or even rejecting the truth presented to the public. And that is what many people feel may have caused the sudden urge to tighten censorship.

As it is, we know that most Chinese social media platforms are already quite active in terms of their censorship. They do tend to remove offensive comments before any government official sees them or is forced to intervene.

One perfect example is related to ByteDance which reportedly has so many reviewers on board whose sole role is to examine the content and their respective comments received. And these usually make up a huge chunk of the firm. They know that they need to get the job done correctly or they’ll be punished along the way.

Beijing has always been at the forefront in terms of exercising stringent control of various social media apps and putting forward different restrictions. And this is certainly one of the most worrisome ones. Yes, the government is ignoring some major challenges and instead is focusing on a vague revision update.

We don’t know how quickly this new rule will be implemented but it is definitely worrisome because it means so many more employees will need to be hired by different companies to make sure content published undergoes revision.

Some social media users and experts in China feel the new revision rule could soon be implemented to cover all documents online. In general, people are asking if such a change is even necessary in the first place, and if yes, what’s the guarantee that it won’t be abused.

We don’t know the answer just yet but it’s quite obvious that some feel the change was needed to help social media platforms and their moderators do a better job at keeping a check and balance in terms of what is really going on in their comments section as this area was more or less neglected in the past.

It’s not clear when the new rule will be effective but some speculations are suggesting from the start of next month. For now, there are just so many rumors circulating regarding how strictly the censorship will be and what can owners of social media apps in the country expect next.

Remember, China has a leading IT sector and it’s always coming out with all sorts of apps and that means now, people are going to have to think twice in terms of content moderators because the government means serious business.


H/T: TechnologyReview

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