Search engine backed by Chinese state media launches a youth version which blocks out violence and porn

Is it the infamous Green Dam born again?

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Chinaso, a search engine company backed by seven major Chinese state media including Xinhua, People’s Daily, and CCTV, launched a search engine app designed for China’s youth.

The Young Search app will block out “unhealthy information” such as violence, pornographic, and gambling-related information, said Xinhua News Agency.

Although the official launch of Young Search is today, Chinaso has had the app on Apple’s official China App Store and many other domestic android app stores since April.

Young Search, which has been downloaded more than 10 million times, has topped the App Store’s education category since May. On the app’s introductory page on the store, Chinaso says the app uses “top-notch” artificial intelligence to weed out unhealthy information.

The app provides users access to a content pool that includes English studies, educational videos, sports, and cartoons.

It also allows parents to set screen time restrictions and access their child’s browsing history.

The app—with its slogan “Get 200 million youngsters online with Young Search”—also seems to have almost zero bad reviews from Apple users (mostly parents) since April.

Officials from the country’s Internet watchdog, the education ministry, and the Communist Youth League attended the launch event, which suggests the app has a certain degree of official backing.

This is not the first time Beijing tried to promote content filters in the name of protecting the youth. In 2009, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandated that all computers produced and sold in China needed to install a porn and violence filter called the Green Dam. The plan was later cancelled after a huge public backlash.