China’s stringent control of access to the internet within its own borders is well storied by now, but the country recently revealed a new set of guidelines which could see app designers pay the biggest price for content its users create.
This according to the Financial Times (paywall), which says the guidelines now stipulate that app creators are responsible for every bit of content that’s on their platform, and are consequently required to review all of it.
The Financial Times makes use of the wildly popular TikTok video editing and sharing app as an example, with China alone have an estimated 150 million users. As such that’s a huge amount of content that the app developer, ByteDance, would now have to police.
What is perhaps most worrisome about these new guidelines, is the fact that it opens up more avenues for content censorship. There are reportedly up to 100 forms of content that are now “ban-able” thanks tot he new guidelines.
As Engadget details, these guidelines are far-ranging, and include oddly specific content such as anything to do with Taiwanese independence, money worship and the use of chanting spells to change human destiny. The final one begs the question whether changing spells for an animal’s destiny is still allowed?
But in all seriousness these latest guidelines will make it increasingly difficult for app creators to operate within China, which remains a highly sought after market given the size of its population and appetite for technology.
With the full extent of the guidelines yet to be explained, it seems like the Chinese government is not concerned with its citizens desire to have online freedom.