China social media is well known for being controlled by the Chinese government. Douyin, a Chinese popular short video app under Toutiao, and Chinese search engine Sogou were ordered to immediately suspend advertising operations and carry out serious rectification due to their online marketing gaffe last month.
The Beijing Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, together with the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce talked with the two companies. The discussions with Douyin involved publishing illegal advertisements on Sogou that created discrimination and insults against “heroic deeds and spirits.”
Douyin was immerse in serious trouble when it appeared in search engine results advertising jokes about Qiu Shaoyun, a revolutionary martyr who fought in the Korean War and died in 1952. He reportedly chose to stay still and burnt to death rather than move and expose his comrades when facing a raging fire. School textbooks have since heralded him as a hero and martyr.
The incident happened only one month after China’s Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law was enforced which is banning activities that defame heroes and martyrs enacted on May 1.
The failures for Douyin to monitor its own advertisements and for Sogou to examine the advertisements posted on its website, led to the online spread of illegal information and had a negative influence. The behavior violated the Network Security Law, Heroes and Martyrs Protection Law as well as the Advertisement Law.
The two departments have started administrative procedures to file the case and conduct investigations.