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Chinese Cyber Regulators Want Apple to Tighten Controls on Live-Streaming Apps

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Beijing’s Internet regulators on Wednesday said Apple is next on a list for inquiries after authorities ordered three Chinese live streaming websites to rectify management loopholes, said Chinese state media.

The Beijing Cyberspace Administration —as well as the Beijing Public Security Bureau, and the Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team —have already met with Apple representatives, said Xinhua News Agency, quoted by Reuters. Recently, the Beijing government ordered three Chinese streaming sites to fix management loopholes.

In a joint inquiry, conducted by the administration, the Beijing Public Security Bureau and Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team, the three companies (toutiao.com, huoshanzhibo.com, and huajiao.com) lacked systematic management and were inadequate in checking information, emergency response, and technical support.

“Significant loopholes” also existed in their management of live-broadcast products, user classification, authentication of user identity and the handling of tips-offs, according to the regulators.

As Apple has lost some ground in the country due to falling sales and increased competition, it has more and more begun to rely on selling smartphone applications. “The U.S. tech firm is turning to selling more apps and services in China amid falling sales and rising competition from domestic smartphone makers,” the report reads.

The Chinese government applies tight controls to its citizens’ access to the Internet, both in terms of the information people can read and the comments they are allowed to make online.

Apple, while philosophically opposed to such restrictions, has to face the reality that ultimately the Chinese government can shut down its operations in the country. Back in January, Apple pulled apps by the New York Times from the App Store, at the request of Chinese authorities.

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