One would think that censorship and internet control would at least come under the guise of preventing online terrorism. Many countries like the UK and Russia use online terrorism to enact internet control, and China, has always been one of the most strict advocates of online censorship to protect its citizens.
China has always censored content by claiming that censored content is blocked since it criticizes the government. Now more than 80 WeChat social media accounts as well as blogs covering celebrity news have been blocked and censored in China. Who knew that celebrity news was so dangerous?
According to a new law issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, individuals and organizations cannot conduct activities on the internet that violate other people’s privacy, intellectual properties, and other legitimate rights and interests. As you can see none of these things really relate to celebrity news.
It’s easier to understand what’s happening on when consider what happened on June 7th. Some representatives of China’s largest internet companies met to be told by the Chinese government that internet websites with vulgar or sensational reporting inciting lavish lifestyles need to be blocked.
After this meeting, social media accounts on WeChat as well as blogs covering celebrity news were deleted. Some of these blogs had millions of followers as well as huge profits from advertising revenue.
To make things worse, there have also been reports of accounts not associated with celebrity news being taken down. Take for example, the popular movie-review weChat account Dushe Dianying valued around $44 million.
According to the Chinese Media Project, “It’s no longer enough for media content to avoid the negative,” suggests David Bandurski “It must be adequately positive”.
Critics speculate that stricter internet control could be the result of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. In this event, the future leaders of China will be elected and the Chinese authorities seemingly have decided to start buckling down on censorship and expanding the boundaries of control to maintain public order.
China’s Great Firewall is increasing in strength every year. It started out just blocking explicit content and political content, but now major websites like YouTube, WeChat, Wikipedia, Twitter, and thousands of other websites are blocked simply because the Chinese government can do so. Anything that the Chinese government deems unseemly can be deleted at any moment’s notice.