China to question Apple in crackdown on live-streaming video services
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China to question Apple in crackdown on live-streaming video services

NETIZENS in China may love live-streaming video platforms but their government is far from crazy about it. As part of a wider clampdown on the increasingly popular service, Chinese authorities plan to haul Apple in for questioning over live-streaming software available on the App Store.

Three Chinese government agencies – the police, cyberspace administration, and cultural law enforcement team – will jointly summon Apple. State-owned news agency Xinhua reported that the agencies plan to order Apple to “tighten up checks” on live-streaming software available on the App Store.

Apple’s summoning comes after Beijing’s Internet regulators discovered three live-streaming platforms had violated four regulations regarding Internet information services, live-streaming services and online performance.

The Beijing Cyberspace Administration, the Beijing Public Security Bureau and the Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team, said the websites – toutiao.com, huoshanzhibo.com and huajiao.com – had “significant loopholes” in their management.

They also determined that some publishers had broadcast forbidden content live, including pornographic content. These publishers will receive criminal punishment, said the Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team.

SEE ALSO: WATCH: China’s live-streaming phenomenon is making waves

China’s cyberspace administration issued regulations that prohibit apps from “[engaging] in activities… such as endangering national security, disrupting social order, and violating the legitimate rights and interests of others”.

New rules also require online streaming platforms to obtain a license from the Chinese government, and do not allow foreign hosts to create channels without seeking permission from the Ministry of Culture. These were put in place in December 2016.

The government’s bid to tighten its grip on live-streaming platforms is choking out smaller players, who have also seen their capital shrink. According to South China Morning Post, analysts at a German investment bank said in a research note that there have already been “tens of mobile broadcasting platforms have ceased operations due to lack of capital”.