By Roger Fingas
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 07:41 am PT (10:41 am ET)
Regulators in Beijing will soon summon Apple and ask it to tighten checks on apps available through the App Store, with a particular focus on live streaming, according to 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.
Live streaming is becoming a lucrative business in the country, having generated over $4.36 billion in estimated revenues during 2016. The government has also pursued crackdowns on illegal content though, for instance targeting pornography, for which there are strict laws.
It may also be concerned about political dissent, since without tips or live monitoring it can be hard for police and intelligence agencies to catch dissident speech, or stop people from broadcasting incidents of government abuse.
Yet another issue may be streaming of crimes. Such incidents have become a regular problem in the U.S., including assault. Recently a murderer uploaded video of his crime to Facebook, and took to Facebook Live to talk.
Chinese censorship has created various problems for Apple. In December the company was forced toremove all versions of the New York Times app from the App Store, likely because of articles criticizing the Chinese government —including one on "hidden perks and subsidies" given to an Apple manufacturer, Foxconn.