Alibaba has been fined by China’s internet watchdog for displaying sexually suggestive content involving children.
Alibaba, Tencent and a number of other Chinese tech giants have been fined by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) over the proliferation of what it called “child-related” sexual content.
While it was not revealed how much these firms, which also included social media giant Weibo and fashion platform Xiaohongshu, were fined the CAC told executives they were taking a “zero tolerance” approach to the issue.
“With regards to the infringement of the legal rights and interests of minors, a `zero tolerance´ attitude will be adopted and enforced to clean up the online problems that endanger the physical and mental health of minors,” it said in a statement.
It is understood that Chinese media outlets have been challenging the use of sexually suggestive photos of minors on the platforms in recent months, including Alibaba’s local marketplace Taobao.
The CAC said that any children under the age of 16 were now “strictly forbidden” from appearing in any live video streams.
It also took aim at animated videos including “erotic and vulgar plots, bloody horror scenes and other dangerous behaviours” hosted on the platforms.
This is the latest development in a string of increasingly strict crackdowns by the Chinese government on the country’s tech giants.
In May, Alibaba posted its first loss in nearly a decade after a record antitrust fine from Chinese authorities hammered margins.
It blamed the sharp drop in profits to the record $2.8 billion fine regulators imposed on the tech giant earlier this year, accusing it of forcing merchants to choose to sell on it or other platforms.
Later that month its rival JD.com was fined for violating antitrust laws and was accused of distributing false promotional information in promoting its food products.
Didi Global, a ride hailing business, became the latest Chinese tech giant to face regulatory scrutiny earlier this month and was fined over data security concerns.