In an attempt to combat fake products and the spread of incorrect values, two of China’s most popular social media platforms stated they would start showing the names of marketing agencies on influencers’ profile pages.
The news was made after the country’s internet watchdog accused those service providers of spreading incorrect values. The company in question includes the Twitter-like microblogging platform Weibo as well as the short video sharing platform Douyin – a Chinese variant of TikTok.
The new feature would then be extended to all users after the trial period is over according to the companies.
Influencers often employ agencies, known as multichannel networks (MCNs) in China, to help manage their social media accounts by distributing content and analyzing web traffic data.
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About 40% of influencers with over 10 million followers on major social media platforms are managed by MCNs according to an Internet regulatory body put in place by the government called the Cyberspace Administration of China or CAC for short.
With the new system in place, MCNs are required to review their contracts with influencers and then provide the platforms with updated information about their partnership statuses, according to Douyin’s notice agencies.
The intention is to “maintain good community order” and “regulate the dissemination of information”, both platforms said.
The most interesting part about the development is the fact that a lot of Chinese internet users are in support of the new move with some stating that they will soon be able to easily spot agencies that deploy internet trolls.
The Chinese government had previously expressed concerns that some agencies were using the power of influencers to sway public opinion.
“Some MCNs manipulate influential accounts and fabricate misinformation containing wrong value orientations,” CAC official Zhang Yongjun said in a news conference in March after authorities announced a regulatory campaign targeting those agencies.
“[MCNs] are sometimes the initiators of online chaos,” Zhang said.
The CAC had threatened that time it would impose a serious punishment against MCNs who post a large amount of content that “distorts reality and misleads the public.”
The regulator also said it would set up a dedicated channel for social media users to report any misconduct. This comes as China continues to tighten its grip on the internet.
Those who have faced the wrath of the government include internet personalities like Hong Hao and Wang Sicong who have both seen their social media accounts revoked after posting content that is deemed offensive by the Chinese government.
In April, several major social media platforms – including Douyin and Weibo – started showing users’ locations based on their internet protocol addresses.
In fact, everyone is required to associate their social media accounts with their phone number which must be registered with a national ID in China.
While all these are the government’s attempts to keep the country’s internet as transparent as possible in order to see through what every individual is doing on the internet.