Regulator to establish department to police online advert content

By Joy Lee, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A special department will be established by the end of the month to better manage advertising on the Internet and social networks in particular, the National Communications Commission (NCC) announced yesterday.

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday said that there are around 13.1 million locals using social networks, the highest rate in Asia.

Many users have been complaining that advertisements featuring women in revealing clothes and with explicit statements are invading social networks.

According to statistics provided by TSU legislators, there were 5,227 complaints of illegal pornographic online content in 2012, including 1,394 cases with the IP addresses of the content located in Taiwan. However, none of the websites, service providers or individuals involved were fined.

Posting sexually loaded advertisements on social networks is in violation of the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act, according to the TSU.

The government spends around NT$8 million every year on a channel through which the public can report inappropriate online content. But, legislators said, with zero websites or individuals being fined for posting such advertisements, the money is being wasted.

The NCC, however, is scheduled to allocate NT$15.79 million to establish a special department that will be staffed by the same people who are in charge of the current reporting channel. As a result the TSU is skeptical that the new department will effectively serve its purpose of improving the management of online content. NCC Defends Record

Huang Chin-yi, the director of the NCC’s Communication Management Department, said that the reporting channel, which was established based on an administrative order, can only notify social network operators and authorities based on complaints by the public. Most operators delete violating advertisements after being notified, Huang said, while some operators leave the advertisements in place.

“The NCC has invited authorities involved in this issue for discussion and a special department will be established by the end of August based on the regulations of the Protection of Children and Youths Welfare and Rights Act,” said Huang.

“The special department will be in charge of monitoring children and youths’ online behavior and of filtering software. “If social network or website operators refuse to remove inappropriate online advertising, they could face fines from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000.”