China bans children under 16 from appearing in live-streaming and online video content

The ban was made after China's internet regulator found soft pornographic images of children appearing on various digital platforms.

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The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Wednesday passed a special action to ban people under the age of 16 from appearing in content within online live-streaming and video platforms.

The special action explains that digital platforms will be required to clear various content where minors are involved, which includes gaming, fundraising, violent, and vulgar content. In addition, digital platforms have been called to investigate cyberbullying and violent behaviours that reside within their communities, forums, or groups.

The special action was made in response to soft pornographic images of children appearing on various digital platforms, such as Kuaishou, Tencent QQ, Taobao, Sina Weibo, and Xiaohongshu, the CAC said.

All of these platforms have been fined for displaying the content, while also being ordered to remove flagged content and ban accounts that show this type of content.

According to the CAC, the flagged content was used as part of efforts to garner traffic and views.

The CAC added that moving forward it would take a "zero tolerance" approach towards enforcing these new rules, with the internet regulator saying companies would need to more carefully monitor the content present on their digital platforms.

The crackdown on inappropriate content involving minors comes shortly after the government publicly made known it was ramping up scrutiny against local tech giants.

At the start of this month, China's State Council issued a statement indicating it would crack down on the corporate sector across a range of areas, spanning from anti-trust to cybersecurity to fintech.

A day prior to that statement being made, Didi was removed from Chinese app stores following an order from the government to do so, with CAC releasing a statement that it had put Didi under a cybersecurity review to "prevent national data security risks" and safeguard public interest.

Beyond Didi, other Chinese tech giants like Alibaba and Tencent have come under government scrutiny in recent months, with Alibaba being hit with a record 18.2 billion yuan fine. 33 other mobile apps have also been called out by Beijing for collecting more user data than deemed necessary when offering services.

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