China plans to restrict social media algorithms to promote “culture and art critiques”

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China is examining how it can limit the role of algorithms in content distribution to align online content with the state’s agenda to shape the country’s spirit and dominant views.

The Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Radio and Television, the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and the Chinese Writers Association, State propaganda organs of the country, call for better “culture and art criticism” in China.

They will introduce new political guidelines, the full text of which will be published in the coming months.

Why are the guidelines introduced?

  • The authorities prefer to promote the loyalty and recognition of the state to the public through “cultural and artistic criticism”, rather than popular topics on Chinese social media like personal affairs and scandals involving Chinese movie stars. .

  • This week, authorities cleaned up 150,000 cases of harmful content and sanctioned more than 4,000 accounts linked to fan clubs or online communities formed around celebrities.

  • State propaganda agencies pledged to become more involved in digital platforms to launch more “micro-journals, short reviews, instant reviews and all media reviews” to increase their interaction with the public .

  • They said China “will strengthen the research and guidance of cyberspace algorithms, impose full governance of cyberspace algorithm recommendations, and not provide channels for disseminating erroneous content.”

What are the guidelines?

  • Under the guidelines, all Chinese content creators and distributors must “adhere to the right direction, strengthen Marxist literary theory and criticism.”

  • They are told to pay attention to the social effects of literary criticism… and not to contribute to the dissemination of low, vulgar and flattering content or of quasi-entertaining content ”.

  • He stressed that China “will improve the standards of literary and artistic criticism” and “bring social value to the fore” because “we cannot become slaves to online trafficking or let business standards trump artistic ones. “.

Why is this important?

  • China is tackling big tech with a six-month campaign that will tackle “tough problems” in the internet industry, including disruption of market order, violation of user rights, threat to the internet. data security and unauthorized internet connections.

  • The campaign will target 22 specific scenarios, including apps that do not allow users to turn off personalization, use pop-ups to mislead or deceive consumers, do not encrypt sensitive information when transmitting data, and to provide data to third parties without the user’s consent. .

  • It will also crack down on blocking and restricting normal access to other websites without a legitimate reason.

  • These measures include Tencent’s WeChat, known to block links to its competitors, and Bytedance, which owns Douyin (TikTok) and blocks links to live streaming sites like Alibaba’s Taobao and JD.com.


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