China Declares War on Vulgar Internet Content

By Ryan Gandolfo, April 10, 2019

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Another crackdown on porn and all things vulgar is officially underway. 

The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications has initiated a countrywide crackdown on the dissemination of vulgar content online in China. The crackdown, which started on April 9 and will run for the next eight months, is aiming to clean up the cyberspace environment in China, according to an announcement on the Central Government’s website.

The latest announcement comes merely four months after the Cyberspace Administration of China announced a six-month internet crackdown in January.

Sao Huang, Da Fei,’ which can be translated to ‘sweep yellow, sweep illegal,’ is the official name for the campaign against porn, with the color yellow referring to all things considered pornographic and vulgar. 

The national office is ordering local authorities to do a thorough inspection of online platforms, including the likes of WeChat and Weibo. Live-streaming and micro blogging platforms, as well as online games, videos and literature will all be strictly monitored over the next eight months, the announcement notes. 

Authorities will focus heavily on the removal of vulgar content used in video game marketing as well as taking down online videos showing a little too much skin on live-streaming platforms. WeChat public accounts (公众号), Weibo posts and other content published online are expected to be “drained of vulgar content.”

READ MORE: Man Caught With 276 Porn DVDs at Shenzhen Border

The government is also holding internet companies accountable for scrubbing the ‘yellow’ content from the cloud, and businesses who refuse to cooperate may be fined, suspended or dare we say it, banned from the industry, according to Xinhua. To protect cyberspace, these companies have developed AI to play a significant role as a censor for content deemed inappropriate in China. Alibaba has already developed an AI porn buster that can examine 100 million images a day, detecting any ‘yellow’ content with a 99.5 percent accuracy rate. 

However, that half a percent is where humans come into play, and from the sounds of it, the job isn’t the most fullfilling. Popular live streaming company Inkes has over 1,000 content moderators glued to a screen, making decisions on whether a video contains inappropriate content that should be removed from the platform. Surprisingly, though, the Beijing-based company’s most-censored activity on their platform is smoking, according to South China Morning Post. Videos showing off excessive tattoos are also not tolerated, which begs the question: what is considered ‘vulgar’ nowadays?

The government is also looking to ordinary individuals for help in sweeping away the provocative content permeating the online community. In December 2018, The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications started encouraging individuals to inform authorities on the publication of illicit content, with rewards of up to RMB600,000.

READ MORE: Porn-Sharing WeChat Group Busted, Admin Gets 6 Months in Jail

[Cover image via @德州公安/Weibo]

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