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How China takes excessive measures to maintain teenagers off TikTok

When the crackdown on video video games occurred in 2021, the social media trade was undoubtedly spooked, as a result of many Chinese language folks have been already evaluating short-video apps like Douyin to video video games by way of addictiveness. It appeared as if the sword of Damocles might drop at any time. 

That chance appears much more sure now. On February 27, the Nationwide Radio and Tv Administration, China’s prime authority on media manufacturing and consumption, stated it had convened a gathering to work on “imposing the regulation of brief movies and stopping underage customers from turning into addicted.” Information of the assembly despatched a transparent sign to Chinese language social media platforms that the federal government is just not happy with the present measures and wishes them to give you new ones. 

What might these new measures appear like? It might imply even stricter guidelines round display time and content material. However the announcement additionally talked about another attention-grabbing instructions, like requiring creators to acquire a license to supply content material for youngsters and growing methods for the federal government to manage the algorithms themselves. Because the scenario develops, we must always anticipate to see extra revolutionary measures taken in China to impose limits on Douyin and related platforms.

As for the US, even attending to the extent of China’s present rules round social media would require some large modifications.

To make sure that no teenagers in China are utilizing their mother and father’ accounts to look at or publish to Douyin, each account is linked to the person’s actual id, and the corporate says facial recognition tech is used to observe the creation of livestream content material. Certain, these measures assist forestall teenagers from discovering workarounds, however additionally they have privateness implications for all customers, and I don’t consider everybody will resolve to sacrifice these rights simply to verify they’ll management what kids get to see.

We will see how the management vs. privateness trade-off has beforehand performed out in China. Earlier than 2019, the gaming trade had a theoretical each day play-time restrict for underage avid gamers, but it surely couldn’t be enforced in actual time. Now there’s a central database created for avid gamers, tied to facial recognition methods developed by large gaming publishers like Tencent and NetEase, that may confirm everybody’s id in seconds. 

On the content material facet of issues, Douyin’s teenager mode bans a slew of content material sorts from being proven, together with movies of pranks, “superstitions,” or “leisure venues”—locations like dance or karaoke golf equipment that youngsters are usually not alleged to enter. Whereas the content material is probably going chosen by ByteDance workers, social media corporations in China are often punished by the federal government for failing to conduct thorough censorship, and meaning selections about what’s appropriate for teenagers to look at are in the end made by the state. Even the traditional model of Douyin often takes down pro-LGBTQ content material on the premise that they current “unhealthy and non-mainstream views on marriage and love.”

There’s a dangerously skinny line between content material moderation and cultural censorship. As folks foyer for extra safety for his or her kids, we’ll should reply some exhausting questions on what these social media limits ought to appear like—and what we’re prepared to commerce for them.

Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
Rafael Gomes de Azevedo
He started his career as a columnist, contributing to the staff of a local blog. His articles with amusing views on everyday situations in the news soon became one of the main features of the current editions of the blog. For the divergences of thought about which direction the blog would follow. He left and founded three other great journalistic blogs,, and With a certain passion for writing, holder of a versatile talent, in addition to coordinating, directing, he writes fantastic scripts quickly, he likes to say that he writes for a select group of enthusiasts in love with serious and true writing.


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