China’s most popular news app Toutiao hiring 2,000 content reviewers, with Party members top of its target list

January 4, 2018
Industry News
Content Provided By:


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Jane Li
jane.li@scmp.com
Meng Jing
meng.jing@scmp.com

Parent company Beijing Bytedance reacts immediately to 24-hour shut down last Friday, when app was accused of spreading ‘pornographic and vulgar content’

Jinri Toutiao, China’s most popular news app, shut down for 24 hours last week, is on the immediate lookout for 2,000 “content reviewers” in a bid to clean up its act, with Communist Party members believed to be considered its preferred choice, according to online job adverts.

Valued at US$30 billion, according to the latest media reports, the app’s parent company Beijing Bytedance Technology is now among the world’s most valuable privately held technology start-ups, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Airbnb and Elon Musk’s rocket maker SpaceX.

With 120 million daily active users, Jinri Toutiao, or “today’s headlines”, employs various means including artificial intelligence (AI) to send customised content to readers, based on the stories and videos they browse the most on the app.

But central government cyber overseers shut it down last Friday for 24 hours over alleged breaches of regulations and for spreading what they called “pornographic and vulgar content”, and violating regulations on operating an online news service, they said.

Apparently having taken heed of the incident, the company has immediately started advertising for reviewers on a Chinese hiring website, Lagou.com, which is designed specifically for recruiting IT professionals.

Bytedance confirmed it is hiring 2,000 content reviewers for Toutiao but declined to reveal any further information to South China Morning Post.

The company already has around 4,000 employees dedicated to the task of reviewing content, “the biggest content review team in China”, according to a report by Chinese news outlet The Paper.
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