China fired a fresh regulatory shot at its tech giants on Monday, thundered Reuters, "telling them to end a long-standing practice of blocking each other's links on their sites or face consequences".
Terrible right? A socialist government telling Big Tech what to do? But the process of blocking links is anti-competitive and something that prevents an evolution towards monopolies. It is something that the US government has proven unwilling to do itself.
Restricting normal access to internet links without proper reason affects the user experience, damages the rights of users and disrupts market order.
The comments, made by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) at a news briefing, mark the latest step in Beijing's broad regulatory crackdown that has ensnared sectors from technology to education and property and wiped billions of dollars off the market value of some of the country's largest companies.
MIIT spokesperson Zhao Zhiguo, adding that the ministry had received reports and complaints from users since it launched a review of industry practices in July. "At present we are guiding relevant companies to carry out self-examination and rectification," he said, citing instant messaging platforms as one of the first areas they were targeting."