While Western social media platforms have recently copied China in a push for censorship, something that hasn’t happened in the West is browser-level censorship.
However, that’s starting to happen right now in China.
The Chinese government announced that it would be cracking down on mobile internet browsers for spreading “chaos.” Such actions by the authoritarian regime hell-bent on controlling online speech have increased in the recent past.
On Monday, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that there would be a crackdown on mobile browsers. The CAC gave the firms running mobile browsers up to November 9 to change their ways or risk serious consequences.
“After the rectification, mobile browsers that still have outstanding problems will be dealt with strictly according to laws and regulations until related businesses are banned,” the CAC said.
According to the CAC, these mobile browsers have been allowing rumors, using sensationalist headlines, and posting content that goes against socialism’s principle values.
“For some time, mobile browsers have grown in an uncivilized way … and have become a gathering place and amplifier for dissemination of chaos by ‘self-media,’” the internet moderator said in a statement.
The mobile internet browsers the CAC is focusing on include Alibaba’s UC Web, Tencent’s QQ, Qihoo 360, and browsers owned by Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, and Sogou.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Huawei said it would conduct a “self-examination” and do what the CAC demands. Owners of the other browsers are yet to release public statements. However, considering the threat of severe consequences, they are likely going to follow Huawei’s example.