China urges internet companies to rectify link blocking issues
Updated 18:11, 13-Sep-2021
China strengthens administrative guidance on link blocking issues. /CFP

China strengthens administrative guidance on link blocking issues. /CFP

China will strengthen administrative guidance on web link blocking and urge internet enterprises in violation of the rules to rectify themselves, said officials with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on Monday.

This is part of a special six-month campaign launched in July to regulate the internet industry by tackling problems such as market order disruption, infringement of user rights and data security threat.

"Ensuring that legal web links can be accessed normally is a basic requirement for the development of the internet industry. Limiting identification, analysis and normal access of web links without proper reason has affected user experience, damaged users rights and disrupted market order," said Zhao Zhiguo, director of the Cybersecurity Management Bureau of the MIIT.

Zhao said the ministry chose to adopt measures such as administrative guidance because some internet companies were failing to ensure compliance even during the self-inspection and rectification period. In this way, companies can better understand that interconnection is an inevitable choice for the high-quality development of the internet industry, he added.

Enterprises are required to follow the rectification requirements and solve link blocking issues in a phase-wise manner, adding that the ministry will deal with the companies lagging behind in complying with the laws and regulations.

According to the Securities Times newspaper, Tencent said it firmly supported the ministry's decision and would implement it in phases and steps.

Alibaba said interconnection is the original intention of the internet, and openness is the foundation of the digital ecology. The company will follow the relevant requirements of the MIIT and work with other platforms, according to bjnews.

On September 9, the MIIT held a meeting with tech companies, including Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance and Baidu, to ask them to stop blocking each other's website links from their platforms before September 17.

The MIIT listed three requirements at the meeting. For example, the display and access should be consistent for the legal links of the same type of products or services shared by users. After clicking the link, it should directly open in the form of a page within the application when users send and receive legal links.

Also, no additional steps should be attached to a specific product or service link, so users don't need to manually copy the link and open it on the system browser.

Read more:

China tells Alibaba, Tencent to open platforms up to each other

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