ByteDance’s popular news app Toutiao launched a new search engine in August. (Picture: Reuters)
TikTok maker ByteDance was ordered by Chinese authorities to clean up the search results in its popular news app Toutiao. The Cyberspace Administration of China’s Beijing office said that “harmful information” that “defames” a revolutionary martyr appeared in the search results of Toutiao’s new search engine.
The CAC also asked the company to “prevent information dissemination” that “distorts, defames, blasphemes and denies the deeds and spirits of heroes and martyrs.” Toutiao told the CAC that it will carry out a “comprehensive rectification.”
The information in question pertained to Fang Zhimin, who became a martyr after he was captured and executed by the Kuomintang in 1935. His grandson has previously filed complaints against online critics and got a boost from the “Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law” passed last year.
ByteDance has been caught up in China’s new law before. Douyin, China’s version of Tiktok, and Sogou, another search engine, were “invited for a talk” and told to clean up content involving martyrs. The popular rage comics genre was also banned over the law.