China’s New Internet Censorship Rule Recommends ‘Positive’ Content

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China once again tightens its reins on country’s access to internet content. In lieu of promoting ‘positive’ content, China has increased focus on algorithms.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has published rules for this upcoming policy that forbids ‘bad’ material. This measure explicity prohibits content that “endangers national security, leaks state secrets, subverts state power [and] undermines national unity.”

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The rule prohibits producers from releasing content that might endanger national security or pose any threat to nation’s religious policy. Companies are banned from releasing any ‘bad’ material online such as exaggerated headlines, rumours and/or content that may encourage minors to involve in unsafe acts.

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A key development is the mention of algorithms and the role they play in determining what content reaches the users. The rules call on platform operators to ensure that the recommendation models built on algorithms promote what is considered proper content according to the government’s Cyberspace cell.

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The rule is set to come force on March 1, 2020. Apparently, it will take away the power of companies and operators to challenge the government to a certain extent. China has used an approach that is quite different in comparison to most of the nations’. While countries like the US are against bias algorithm, China is set to promote the same.

The rule is set to encourage the content creators, producers and promoters to release content supplementing President Xi Jinping’s theories and ideologies. This rule will directly increase the pressure on technology companies. It will also give the government more power to monitor, prevent and manipulate content going online.

This rule is a prime exampls of government’s increasing pressure on technology based companies throughout the world.

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Utkarsha Bansal
Utkarsha is a B.A. (Honours) Political Science student at Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi, who has worked for various organizations as a freelance writer and/or editor. She is often found with her nose dug in a book. Other times she is out, exploring the world.

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