Watchdog seeks 'porn appraiser'

Updated: 2013-04-18 02:12

By CAO YIN (China Daily)

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Got an eye for the obscene? A Chinese company is advertising a position that would require the successful candidate to spend his or her days trawling the Web for pornography.

Applications are flooding in for the job, which pays an annual salary of 200,000 yuan ($32,400), while the ad has aroused much discussion among netizens.

Safety Alliance, an organization that aims to clean up the online environment, published the job ad on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese micro-blogging website, on April 10, in which it seeks to recruit a chief appraiser who can identify obscene information on the Internet.

Besides this post, the alliance is also seeking Web editors and professionals who can identify fraud and malware online.

"But the position specializing in tackling online pornography is the most popular among applicants," said Yang Jilong, the alliance's human resources chief, adding that the organization is still under preparation and will be formally established next month.

The post requires applicants to have an ability to identify obscenity and pornography online and have a good knowledge of foreign languages and laws, according to Yang.

By Wednesday, the advertisement on the alliance's micro blog had been forwarded almost 130,000 times, and around 300,000 people left messages requesting further information about the job, he said.

The alliance has received more than 5,000 resumes, most for the position of the chief porn appraiser, Yang said.

Nearly 800 companies, including Baidu, Tencent and China Merchants Bank, have become members of the alliance, which aims to crack down on obscene information and explore better ways to prevent netizens, especially young people, from accessing unhealthy websites.

"As we find vulgar information and safety risks on websites, we'll remind Web users with an online label, while for those that we're not sure about, we'll ask law school professors and government administrators for help," he said.

The alliance has five employees to do selection work, "but we need a team leader, which is why we posted the ad", he said.

Cai Yifan, a 23-year-old applicant from Nanjing, Jiangsu province, said he heard about the job through Tencent Weibo and had already sent his resume.

The graduate, who majored in English and is proficient in Japanese, took part in an online test for the job, but claimed it was too difficult.

"The questions covered many fields, such as translation, legal knowledge and psychology. I'm interested in the job, but my chances of success are very small, as the standards were too high," he added.

Another applicant, who wished to remain anonymous, agreed. He said one of questions required them to name works of art that are often regarded as pornographic.

"But I think that people’s opinions vary widely on an issue like this," he added.

Yang Shuo, a specialist with a decade of experience in cyber management, is not optimistic about the effectiveness of the new post, saying it is hard to distinguish unhealthy information.

Many Web companies employ people to select and delete obscene messages, "but it's impossible to classify all information online, because there is no legal definition of pornography in China," he explained.

Some foreign websites required users to provide their age or identity if they want to access certain content, said Yang Shuo.

"In this way, the website can confirm whether the user is a minor or not, and then provide suitable information for him or her," he said.

But Liu Honghui, a Beijing lawyer specializing in online cases, said that the new post would help to clean up China's online environment.

"Although there are no standards and the alliance's appraisal may not be authorized, it's still a good move. The increasing number of applicants means more people hope cyberspace can be a healthier place," he added.

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