Under the direction of President Xi Jinping, the Chinese government is shutting down certain websites and social media accounts specialized in entertainment and celebrity gossip. So far, 60 social media accounts on China’s biggest platforms, WeChat and Sina Weibo, have been closed due to vulgar content and concerns that those accounts would negatively impact society.
This drastic action affected some of China’s most popular showbiz channels that own millions of followers such as the entertainment account from Harper’s Bazaar China. Most of the affected accounts published forms of celebrity news that were even less scandalous. The government states that those accounts could be seen as glorifying celebrity lifestyle. With this behavior China underlines its strict core socialist values.
It is nothing new to us that the country has full control over the internet and local media. According to the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, China is ranked 176 out of 180 countries regarding the limitation of free speech. Along with a new cyber security law, many multinational firms are concerned about their digital operations. As from June 1, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced new regulations regarding publishing and sharing content. Moreover, these regulations demand from companies to acquire a government license and editors must be approved by the government.
Fashion magazines and brands which operate in China have long used celebrities to gain exposure. Now, they must go beyond celebrity images and must come up with new ways how to engage Chinese society.
Read more about China’s social media control on The Business of Fashion.
Can you imagine a control like this in your country? Also, major private celebrity accounts will probably be affected and forced to shut down. This would result in a lot of negative consequences for companies that use celebrities to promote their products. (ML, 9:37 PM)