China has shut down more than 4000 websites and online accounts in a three-month campaign against “harmful” online information, the official Xinhua news agency says.
China keeps the internet under tight control and has been cracking down on a range of illegal online activities including pornography, gambling, religious proselytising and even “spreading rumours”.
In a campaign that started in May, the authorities tackled 120 violations and ordered 230 firms to rectify irregularities.
More than 147,000 pieces of harmful information were removed by the end of August, according to China’s National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.
Xinhua said the campaign targeted content in online fiction that spread improper values, vulgarity and obscenity, as well as content that infringed on copyright.
Authorities announced last week that they had busted a live-streaming pornography platform hosted in Cambodia and said to have more than 3.5 million registered users.
China has banned hugely popular game streaming service Twitch
Twitch, the streaming giant famous for launching eSports into the stratosphere, has confirmed that it is now banned in China.
Abacus first reported that Twitch’s website was unavailable in mainland China, and that its app had quietly vanished from the Chinese Apple App Store. Twitch confirmed to Business Insider that it has been banned.
Twitch declined to comment on why it had been banned, or whether it had had any prior warning from the Chinese government. Abacus pointed to a recent spike in usership for Twitch, which rocketed to the number three position for free apps after Chinese users tuned in to watch coverage of esports championship the Asian Games, which was not broadcast on state television.
Abacus reports that the ban has enraged Chinese Twitch users, some of whom see the crackdown as oppression of free speech. China has has recently become stricter with the video game industry. The government unexpectedly suspended the approval of new games in August, including Fortnite, sending gaming giant Tencent’s stock tumbling by $US140 billion. Billions of minutes of “Fortnite” gameplay are watched each month on Twitch, according to internal figures.
Twitch has a massive viewership, with 15 million daily active users worldwide. It has also catapulted video game streamers like Tyler “Ninja” Blevins to fame and fortune, as thousands tune in to watch him play Fortnite.
The esports industry is also exploding, Goldman Sachs valued the market at $US500 million in 2016, and expects annual compound growth of 22% over the next three years.China in particular has seen a boom in the esports market, and in August Chinese video-streaming stocks surged.