China’s central internet censorship agency, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), shut down 179,000 social media accounts since late August as part of its latest online crackdown.
The accounts that were shut down include 105,000 live streaming accounts, 74,000 live streaming virtual rooms, and 338 live streaming platforms.
13,600 of the 105,000 live streaming accounts (around 13%) were shut down for streaming “mukbang” – a format where people broadcast themselves eating food.
Commercial internet platforms, self-media (independently operated social media accounts), and social media were among the other types of content and platforms purged in this latest crackdown.
The CAC held a meeting with government officials and internet company executives at the end of August to discuss this purge campaign. According to a person who attended this meeting, the future of self-media “will become grimmer” with regulations placing tight restrictions on what users are allowed to post. These restrictions include prohibitions on the reposting of news from official media and prohibitions on the release of “negative real estate information.”
The founder and former editor-in-chief of the state-run media outlets Beijing News and Southern Metropolis Daily, Cheng Yizhong, added that there would be no future for self-media in China.
The announcement comes amid rising concerns of China’s strict internet censorship standards being exported into other countries.
A recent report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute revealed that the Chinese social media apps TikTok and WeChat are both increasingly censoring content in the US and other territories outside of China.
The Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War teaser trailer was also censored worldwide on behalf of China after showing one second of footage from the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.