HomeArtificial IntelligenceHow China takes excessive measures to maintain teenagers off TikTok

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 positively spooked, as a result of many Chinese language individuals had 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 risk appears much more sure now. On February 27, the Nationwide Radio and Tv Administration, China’s high authority on media manufacturing and consumption, stated it had convened a gathering to work on “implementing 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 isn’t happy with the present measures and desires them to give you new ones. 

What might these new measures appear to be? It might imply even stricter guidelines round display screen time and content material. However the announcement additionally talked about another fascinating instructions, like requiring creators to acquire a license to offer content material for youngsters and growing methods for the federal government to manage the algorithms themselves. Because the state of affairs develops, we should always count on to see extra progressive measures taken in China to impose limits on Douyin and related platforms.

As for the US, even attending to the extent of China’s current laws round social media would require some massive adjustments.

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

We are able to see how the management vs. privateness trade-off has beforehand performed out in China. Earlier than 2019, the gaming trade had a theoretical every 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 techniques developed by massive gaming publishers like Tencent and NetEase, that may confirm everybody’s id in seconds. 

On the content material aspect 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 purported to enter. Whereas the content material is probably going chosen by ByteDance staff, social media corporations in China are usually 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 usually takes down pro-LGBTQ content material on the idea 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 individuals foyer for extra safety for his or her youngsters, we’ll need to reply some onerous questions on what these social media limits ought to appear to be—and what we’re prepared to commerce for them.


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