China continues its no-tolerance policy towards social media by ordering one of the country’s fastest-growing startups, Beijing Bytedance Technology Co., to close one of its joke-sharing apps and delete its WeChat account, Bloomberg reports, on the grounds that its content clashes with party ideology.
Bytedance, which boasts a $20 billion market value and hundreds of millions of users worldwide, has been the target of several blows from Beijing this week. It’s well-known news app Toutiao was taken off the app store on Monday, before another app, music-themed video platform Douyin, was ordered to pull all live-streaming functions.
In response to the government action, CEO of Toutiao Zhang Yiming gave a humble apology on Wednesday through the company’s now-offline WeChat account.
“We didn’t realize that technology has to be guided by the core values of socialism so it can be used to spread positive energy, meet the requirements of the times and respect public order and good customs,” said Zhang.
Zhang also pledged to boost his workforce cleaning up the banned content by 4,000 staff, and to develop the platform to allow greater censorship.