Friday, January 5, 2018
Chinese News App Calls For Communist Party Members to Work as Content Reviewers
(Radio Free Asia) - Online Chinese news platform Toutiao is recruiting some 2,000 editors to oversee content delivered to its smartphone app, after being sanctioned last week for alleged breaches of regulations and for spreading "pornographic and vulgar content."
The app has begun recruiting content editors, whose job will be to filter out "illegal" stories from among the pool that the app sends to its users in a tailored news feed.
Members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party are particularly encouraged to apply for the job, which offers full health coverage and pension benefits and paid leave, on a salary of up to 6,000 yuan per month, according to an advertisement on the recruitment platform Lagou.com.
Successful candidates will be responsible for "reviewing and monitoring whether the content of the premier news platform of the day is illegal or not," the ad says.
They also be charged with handling user reports and tip-offs of illegal content, it says.
Applicants who are Communist Party members will be prioritized, but all applicants must be college graduates, preferably majoring in journalism, with "a passion for news and current affairs and good political sensitivity and discrimination."
They must also possess "an excellent grasp of the mobile internet and internet-related laws and regulations."
Last Friday, Beijing's Cyberspace Administration temporarily suspended both Toutiao and Phoenix News for carrying pornographic content. Both were also accused of "having serious problems in guiding public opinion," suggesting a political aspect to the closures.
Both companies promised to tighten up controls on content and management of staff after they were summoned to a meeting with internet supervision officials.
Online activist Wang Fazhan said the recruitment exercise is likely a bid to limit the political risk to the app's parent company, startup Bytedance.
"By hiring people to screen content, they can say in the event of further issues that the content was screened by party members," Wang said. "It's a form of risk management."
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