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Image for article titled China’s Version of TikTok Now Features 'Put Down Your Phone' PSAs Following Government Scrutiny

Picture: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / Contributor (Getty Pictures)

Searching for to make an app that was designed to be a enjoyable distraction much less enjoyable and fewer distracting, the powers that be over at Douyin—the Chinese language model of TikTok that’s just about the identical the U.S. model, however with boosted ecommerce capabilities—are launching new options geared toward curbing the binge-watching behaviors they fear at the moment are prevalent among the many video stream app’s overwhelmingly younger customers.

On Friday, the South China Morning Post reported that Douyin—which, like its U.S.-based counterpart, is owned by the Chinese language multinational firm ByteDance—was implementing the adjustments out of deference to the Chinese language authorities’s elevated scrutiny of alleged addictive on-line habits that these type of apps concentrate on enabling, with overlong viewing periods particularly within the crosshairs.

Douyin will now reportedly hijack customers’ screens once they’ve been streaming for a but unspecified time deemed too lengthy as a way to sporadically show a collection of five-second PSAs the app created in partnership with the Chinese language band Phoenix Legend. These movies—which might’t be swiped away or clicked out of—all advocate that customers both “put down the cellphone,” “go to mattress,” prepare for “work tomorrow” or another lame factor that the customers are clearly avoiding on objective by scrolling by way of social media.

This isn’t the primary time that Douyin, which has over 600 million each day energetic customers in China, has messed with teenagers’ lives by making them take note of what’s happening in the actual world: The app additionally lately unveiled what it proclaimed as its “strictest ever” setting for youngsters, which limits viewing time customers beneath the age 14 to only 40 minutes a day. Underneath that new setting, customers inside that age vary are additionally solely permitted to make use of the app between the hours of 6am and 10pm.

Chinese language authorities have more and more bemoaned the chokehold algorithm-driven content material has on younger web customers. In actual fact, Chinese language officers notoriously hate algorithmic feeds, notably as a result of they threaten to amplify data and ideologies that the federal government and its censors may in any other case search to maintain a lid on.  To wit, the Chinese language authorities introduced in September a three-year plan to carry content material advice algorithms to heel within the nation and strengthen the one-party state’s grip on what conversations persons are having and once they’re having them.

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