Chinese authorities have been sharing the extent of the country’s crackdown on what it considers ‘inappropriate’ content.

What’s notable is that, according to the report from state news agency Xinhua, at the heart of the crackdown has been an army of 140,000 snitches, who have reported sites in return for cash rewards from the National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publications (NOAPAIP).

The vast majority of those sites were connected with pornographic or obscene material – 128,000 of them to be precise, with 5,500 regarding ‘illegal’ publication, 4,800 reported for copyright infringement, and 1,300 for fake news and fake journalists.

You may recall that last week we reported on the dress down of ten sites by the Chinese authorities for an intoxicating mix of “revealing clothing”, “vulgar hot dances” and “chaotic content”.

Since then, the crackdown has accelerated, with over $147,000 (just over ¥1 million Yuan) issued in bounties, as the NOAPAIP’s blocking spree continues.

Internet content in China is heavily regulated in any case, with many external news sources and social networks blocked by the so-called ‘great firewall’ as the Communist Party attempts to maintain the “purity of socialism”.

But the Great Firewall also exists to censor content, as well as opinion – and last week the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) elected to “punish” 10 sites, including two leading social networks, who were forced to overhaul their content before accepting any new users.

The companies will also be expected to actively block “the most egregious live-streaming offenders” and hand the data over so the ban can be imposed by other sites too.

This presents something of a challenge for user-generated-content sites, such as social networks and dating apps, for which the owner is expected to accept responsibility for the actions of the users. US sites are currently protected from such “arms-reach” breaches by legislation, but this could be set to change in the future.

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