(Yicai Global) July 9 -- Chinese authorities have suspended Tik Tok’s domestic advertising business after the country’s leading short-video platform ran afoul of a recently enacted law that forbids the mocking of the revolutionary heroes and martyrs.
The Cyberspace Administration of China reprimanded the hugely popular platform’s Beijing-based operator ByteDance Technology and brought a halt to advertising pending rectifications, state-backed China Times reported.
Tik Tok, known as Douyin in the domestic market, derives a major chunk of its revenue from advertising. “The suspension will have significant implications for the platform’s valuation,”, an industry insider said.
Regulators targeted the firm after promotional content mocking the death of revolutionary Qiu Shaoyun appeared in results on search engine Sogou. China brought in a new law at the start of May as part of efforts to protect the reputation of the country’s historical heroes.
Qiu, who died during the Korean War in 1952, went down in Chinese history for his patriotism after the soldier chose to burn to death rather than give away his comrades’ position. Tik Tok’s paid post aimed to lure in users by promoting jokes about his passing. The company has been ordered to educate staff on regulations, core socialist values, as well as revolutionary history.
CAC summoned five companies in total including Sogou to its Beijing office and ordered them to make changes to their advertising operations following the affair. ByteDance acknowledged it had made oversights when reviewing keyword packs provided by a third party.
The platform has also an afoul of regulators overseas in recent times. Indonesia's government banned the app last week due to inappropriate video content after an online petition garnered over 125,000 signatures. The country will consider unblocking the app if Bytedance cleans up the content, the communications ministry said.
Editor: William Clegg