On Friday, China’s largest stock image provider known as the Visual China Group shut its website while making changes after it received criticisms online because of regulators selling images that did not have ownership rights. The company has since issued an apology.
A partner of Visual China Group, which is sometimes compared to which is Getty Images, posted from its official Weibo account apologies indicating the incident exposing a weak management and that it was cooperating with authorities.
On Thursday, local news report said the company was asked to meet Tianjin city branch of China’s internet watchdog in order to repair the company’s website.
In the morning trade, the company’s share tumbled a maximum 10 percent.
On Friday, on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, “Visual China apologizes” became the most-read topic with over 250 million views. Over 40 million editorial images and 1.25 million videos is owned by Visual China, according to its website.
Earlier this week, after the Event Horizon Telescope project research of the first photo of a black hole that Visual China had indicated it held the copyright, the company’s criticism heightened on social media.
Marketing of images on China’s national emblems like the flag were later questioned by other users.
Photos were added and provided by contractors. The company said in the Weibo statement, “The Visual China website, as reported by netizen, has issues with non-compliant pictures such as national flags and national emblems.”
In addition, the company also said, “The company will learn from these lessons, seriously make rectifications, and voluntarily accept how the Tianjin Internet Information Office chooses to deal with the firm.”
Under President Xi Jinping, the political control of the internet has tightened by demanding companies to constrict the failure of “harmful information” that could lead from vulgar to politically sensitive content.
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