China will end ‘chaotic’ culture of online fans and close channels that spread celebrity scandals

China will take steps to quell the “chaotic” online culture of celebrity fans, the country’s cyberspace regulator said in a statement published on Friday, part of an ongoing state campaign to “rectify” the Internet industry.

China’s Cyberspace Administration (CAC) has said it will take action against the dissemination of “harmful information” in celebrity fan groups and will close down discussion channels that spread celebrity scandals or “cause trouble”.

In recent months, Beijing has expressed strong criticism of fan culture after several celebrities, including Canadian-Chinese pop star Kris Wu and Chinese actor Zhang Zhehan, were caught up in scandals and urged their Internet companies to exercise social responsibility.

Companies that have responded so far include video streaming platform iQiyi and Twitter-like Weibo, which have announced changes to their offerings.

The CAC said it would improve the way it regulates the promotion of celebrities online and also ban lists that rank celebrities by popularity, the notice said.

It will also take action against the financial exploitation of Internet users by selling merchandise or charging fans to vote for their favorite acts on online variety shows. It also aims to restrict access to online fan groups for minors.

Earlier this month, Weibo pulled out a list that ranked celebrities by popularity after state media said social media platforms should rein in promoting celebrity culture to protect children.

On Thursday, Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi announced that it would no longer air “idol competition” programs.

The company, the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, abandoned the third season of its popular talent show “Youth with You” before its finale earlier this year, after a controversy in which fans of the show were filmed wasting milk in their bid to qualify. to vote.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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