Staff Reporters
Sep 29, 2022

Chinese social platforms are more child-safe than their Western counterparts: report

The Media Responsibility study from IPG Mediabrands also says user accountability on Chinese platforms is higher, as the platforms collectively develop more uniform content policies driven both by regulation and user preference.

Chinese social platforms are more child-safe than their Western counterparts: report

IPG Mediabrands has launched a new study that focuses on the safety, inclusivity, data ethics and sustainability of online media platforms in China. 

The study, called “Media Responsibility – A China Perspective”, looks at the impact of the strict regulations like personal information protection, cyber security, algorithm regulation and child protection, that the Chinese government has imposed on its citizens.  

It looks at platforms' policies, techniques and processes in areas of safety, inclusivity, data ethics and sustainability to see what measures the platforms are, or are not, taking. 

Platform policies

Among the finding, the study found one of the seven platforms (WeChat) had a net zero carbon commitment, while five of seven platforms have emissions reductions plans.  

It noted all platforms have strong safety polices and advanced content moderation efforts, as well as a policy against discrimination on the platform.  

All platforms excluding the news focused TouTiao, have a child or teen safety mode, while WeChat, Kuaishou, and Bilibili are actively measuring diversity statistics.  

According to the report, multiple platforms commit to harmony and equality through unique polices such as wealth exaggeration, image manipulation, and world leading child and teen safety modes.  

It also found significant efforts have been made into data security and China’s advanced privacy law as all platform has clear misinformation policies. All platforms also have significant fraud prevention measures, where the focus is on scams and accounts that are misleading users.  

“China has been an unknown quantity for many global marketers when it comes to content online and concerns around brand safety,” said Harrison Boys, the director of standards and investment product for Asia Pacific at Mediabrands APAC, and author of the report. 

Key highlights

• Chinese platforms are significantly more advanced in child safety compared to global platforms. Every major China platform with a high potential for child or teen usage has a safety mode for this purpose, versus only TikTok and more recently Instagram who are implementing measures. 

• User accountability on China platforms is significantly higher. In most cases when users sign up to an account, they need to provide a phone number, which requires the use of government identity cards to acquire. 

• WeChat and Kuaishou have made progressive strides with expansive discrimination policies, strong company diversity policies as well as strong environmental sustainability credentials. 

• Platforms in China are actively pushing a strong message around bio-diversity and environmental issues with specific content programmes focussed on the issue. 

• Red / Xiaohongshu, China’s answer to Instagram has implemented policies against over- retouching for beauty images. Global equivalents have been criticized for their action in this area, and the impact it has on users, especially younger users. 

• The environment has led to more uniform content polices across the platforms. This in comparison to global platforms who largely set out their own overarching concept for what is tolerated on platform.

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