China to crack down on ‘chaotic’ online celebrity fan culture
China will take steps to curb the “chaotic” online celebrity fan culture, the country’s cyberspace regulator announced in a notice published on Friday, as part of a broader state campaign to “rectify” the Internet sector.
The Chinese Cyberspace Administration (CAC) announced that it would take action against the spread of “harmful information” in celebrity fan groups, as well as close down discussion channels that spread celebrity scandals or “provoke trouble.”
After a number of celebrities, including Canadian-Chinese pop star Kris Wu and Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan, were embroiled in scandals in recent months, Beijing has slammed fan culture and asked its Internet companies to exercise social responsibility.
Companies that have responded thus far include iQiyi, a video streaming platform, and Weibo, a Twitter-like platform that has announced changes to its offerings.
According to the notice, the CAC will improve the way it regulates celebrity promotion online and will also prohibit lists that rank celebrities by popularity.
It will also take action to prevent netizens from being exploited financially through the sale of merchandise or by charging fans to vote for their favourite acts in online variety shows. It also intends to restrict minors’ access to online fan groups.
Weibo removed a list that ranked celebrities by popularity earlier this month after state media said social media platforms should limit the promotion of celebrity culture to protect children.
On Thursday, the Chinese video-streaming platform iQiyi announced that it would no longer broadcast “idol competition” shows.
After a controversy in which fans of the show were filmed wasting milk in order to qualify to vote, the company, China’s equivalent of Netflix, dropped the third season of its popular talent show “Youth with You” before its finale earlier this year.
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