China’s Tighter Streaming Regulations Target Social Media

New streaming regulations are aimed at restricting live broadcasting of impromptu and salacious content.


China’s top social media sites, Sina’s Weibo and Tencent’s Weixin, face stricter controls on the presentation of audio-visual content, under new regulations released this month by the State Administration of Press, Publications, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT).

Weibo and Weixin specifically are not allowed to rebroadcast material uploaded by their users, but the new rules are designed to prevent individuals and organizations from doing any broadcasting of audio-visual material via these popular social media applications.

An audio-visual service provider license will be required in order to offer such content via social media applications SAPPRFT did not indicate when the new regulations will go into effect.

“As with many new internet regulations in China, enforcement of the new rules on video streaming will focus more keenly on some types of content – like news – than others, and will likely grow increasingly tighter as both the authorities and major platforms like Weibo and WeChat continue to refine their monitoring and control systems,” said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting.

China has been implementing a series of new regulations on streamed online content, including that all performers appearing in live events must register with valid identification.