Chinese regulators gripping internet sector scrutiny; Summoned 11 firms on ‘deepfake’ tech

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The Chinese regulators have summoned 11 technology companies including Alibaba and Tencent for talks regarding the security of voice software on their content platforms, as the country is stepping up scrutiny over the internet sector.

The internet watchdog of the country the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) stated that the discussions were regarding security assessments and potential risks of technology used in voice-based social media and deepfake technology. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic but fake videos or audios where a person appears to say or do something they did not.

The current move from the regulators is following the increased concerns over the anticompetitive behavior of firms. Twelve technology companies, including Tencent and Baidu, were fined for violating anti-monopoly rules.

Companies called in for talks with the CAC included smartphone maker Xiaomi, TikTok parent company Bytedance and live-streaming firm Kuaishou Technology.

The Chinese regulators have urged the companies to comply with cybersecurity laws and conduct security assessments, improve risk prevention and control and take effective rectification measures for any previously unknown safety hazards.

The meeting comes after China banned the audio-based social media platform Clubhouse last month as the users in the country got engaged in real-time discussions about sensitive topics such as a crackdown on Uyghurs in the northwestern Xinjiang region. 

Chinese copycats of the audio app have since sprung up in the Chinese market, with companies like Xiaomi relaunching a messaging app into a similar audio-social media platform. Earlier this month reports were there, TikTok owner ByteDance is also working on Clubhouse-like apps for the Chinese market.

Related: TikTok may introduce group chat feature this year; Sources