The stopping of new registrations had not been previously reported. Some content creators have said on social media that they cannot sign up for new accounts on Toutiao.
The reason for the blockage could not be determined immediately. Toutiao’s app can still be downloaded and existing users can use it.
ByteDance declined to comment. The sources declined to be identified given the sensitivity of the case.
The Chinese Cyberspace Administration (CAC) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which oversee Toutiao’s operations, did not respond to requests for comment.
China has harnessed its massive and once free “platform economy” on issues ranging from content relevance to anti-competitive behavior and, increasingly, data security.
Earlier this month, the ACC announced an investigation into ridesharing company Didi Global, citing cybersecurity and national security concerns, with a ban on new user registrations just days after it was posted in a New York City report. $ 4.4 billion (around Rs. 32,810 crore) sale of shares, rocking industry and investors.
The regulator went on to remove Didi and its affiliated apps from Chinese app stores.
Toutiao is ByteDance’s second largest source of advertising revenue in China, after Douyin, Reuters reported, accounting for around 20% of sales in the country last year, or around CNY 36 billion (around Rs. 41,510 crore). ByteDance raked in $ 34.3 billion (around Rs. 2.55,750 crore) in total revenue last year.
When trying to register for Toutiao, new users see a message: “The system is currently under maintenance. Registration is temporarily unavailable. New content creators get a similar message.
Jinri Toutiao, which means “the headline of the day” in Chinese, uses an artificial intelligence-based recommendation system to deliver personalized news feeds.
This is not the first time that the news aggregator has been sanctioned by the authorities. In 2018, Chinese regulators ordered app stores to remove Toutiao for three weeks, citing “vulgar content.”
ByteDance, which was valued at $ 300 billion (around Rs. 22.36,890 crore) in recent private deals, earlier this year planned to list some of its companies, including the Chinese version of TikTok Douyin in Hong Kong, have indicated sources. In April, ByteDance said it had no imminent plans to sign up.
In 2018, ByteDance’s joke app Neihan Duanzi was shut down for harboring what the country’s broadcasting watchdog called “vulgar” and “inappropriate” content that sparked “strong resentment. among users “.
© Thomson Reuters 2021