China recently released the latest version of “Regulations on the Administration of Internet Post Comment Services.” The law will go into effect on December 15. For the first time, “Like” button is now considered a kind of comment, subject to scrutiny and potentially punishment. 

The move follows a wave of strengthening internet censorship in recent years. The latest online censorship move was at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. 

The source says that the updated version of the regulations will for the first time view comments, replies, messages, bullet screens, and even “likes” as a form of comments. The new law also requires websites with comment sections or social media functions to set up a comment review process. They should set up real-time inspections, and reporting systems to remove illegal information and report to the related authority. 

In an exclusive interview with Liberty Times, expert Liu Lipeng said that if “liking something” is now seen as commenting on something, then it will constitute a “crime of liking.” The system will also be used to help censor those who like and comment.

Besides, Liu also said that strict enforcement of this new law will consume a lot of resources. He estimates that right now, there might be 2,000 censors on news websites. But if we want to follow the new rules, we will need up to 20,000 censors.

In response to the government’s latest censoring law, netizens said that they should just turn off the like button. They even mock that in the future, the makeshift hospitals that the government is rushing to build might be turned into concentration camps to hold those violating this law.

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