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China will make TikTok-like video apps responsible for what users upload

New guidelines will make companies review every clip themselves.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 13, 2019
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China's growing crackdown on internet media now includes some tight limits on short-form video apps like TikTok. Recently imposed guidelines make app creators responsible for the content their users post, and ask platforms to review every bit of content -- no mean feat when TikTok alone has roughly 150 million users in China.

There's a lot of potential reasons for censorship, too. The Financial Times notes the guidelines ban 100 forms of content ranging from "money worship" and Taiwanese independence to oddly specific "chanting spells to change human destiny."

The full policy on short video apps has yet to arrive, but this is expected to create significant headaches for app developers. They'll not only need significantly larger staff counts to monitor their apps, they'll have to worry about interpreting rules or the consequences of a video slipping through the cracks. What happens if there's a disagreement in whether or not a video is objectionable, or a reviewer isn't aware that something violates the rules? Not that the Chinese government is likely concerned -- it's determined to maintain control wherever possible, even in apps where politics aren't normally a major topic.

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