Use strong supervision to curb Internet pop-up chaos

  □ Liu Wenjie

  On July 26, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it decided to launch a special rectification action for the Internet industry. The special action focused on four aspects and eight types of issues such as infringement of user rights and interests, including the pop-up deception that users have long criticized.

Recently, the Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Protection Committee issued the "PC-side Application Software Network Popup Investigation Report", which also listed many problems in the PC-side application software pop-up window: the pop-up window contains obscene, pornographic and vulgar content; the commercial promotion information is not explicitly advertising. , Also did not indicate the source and software name; the pop-up window does not have a close button or the close button is not eye-catching; the pop-up window cannot be closed with one key; the pop-up frequency is high, and the number of pop-ups at one time is high; the size of the pop-up window is too large; the network pop-up window There is automatic sound playback and so on.

  Web pop-ups refer to windows that automatically pop up on the screen after a user opens a software or webpage on a computer or mobile phone. The content is usually advertisements or news information.

Because the pop-up window will forcibly occupy the user's computer and mobile phone interface, users have to pay attention and check, which has gradually become a carrier for all parties to pursue economic interests, and over time has become a "psoriasis" that is difficult to tear off on the Internet. .

"Time" magazine has selected the world's 50 most terrible inventions, and pop-up ads are among them.

  For pop-up advertisements, my country’s laws and regulations actually have clear regulations.

Article 44 of my country's Advertising Law stipulates that the use of the Internet to publish and send advertisements shall not affect the normal use of the Internet by users.

Advertisements published in the form of pop-ups on Internet pages should be marked with a close sign to ensure one-click close.

Article 59, paragraph 3 of the Advertising Law stipulates that if the advertisement is not identifiable, or if the advertisement of medical treatment, medicine, medical equipment, or health food is published in disguise, the market supervision department shall order correction and impose a penalty of less than 100,000 yuan on the advertisement publisher. fine.

The second paragraph of Article 62 of the Advertising Law stipulates that if an advertisement is posted on the Internet without a close sign to ensure one-click shutdown, the market supervision department shall order corrections and impose a fine of 5,000 yuan up to 30,000 yuan on advertisers.

  The key to establishing legal rules for reasonably adjusting pop-up advertisements lies in accurately grasping the provisions of Article 44 of the Advertising Law.

The purpose of this article is to use the Internet to publish and send advertisements "not to affect the normal use of the Internet by users".

However, judging from reports issued by Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Protection Commission and other institutions, pop-up advertisements frequently appearing have caused a bad experience for users in their normal use of the Internet.

Starting from the principle of “must not affect users’ normal use of the Internet”, it should be considered that the “ensure one-click shutdown” referred to in the Advertising Law includes three aspects: setting up a one-time shutdown button, reminding users of the existence of the shutdown button in a prominent way, and one-time shutdown as Closed permanently.

  The so-called set up a close button means that once the user clicks the button, the pop-up window disappears from the screen immediately and completely.

But in life, in addition to not setting the close button, some pop-up close buttons are also fraudulent, that is, the user cannot close the pop-up window after clicking the close button, and even opens a third-party web page or a new pop-up window appears.

Such tricks make users uncomfortable, and these actions are actually illegal.

  Reminding users in a striking manner means that ordinary users can easily see the close button on the pop-up window and can click the button lightly.

But in reality, many operators set the close button on the pop-up window to white or a color similar to the background of the pop-up window, which makes it difficult for users to distinguish.

Such practices are also illegal.

  The so-called one-time close is a permanent close, which means that once the user clicks the close button, the software can no longer pop up a pop-up window.

If the user clicks to close, another pop-up window or even several pop-up windows immediately pops up, then "the user is using the network normally" will be impossible to talk about.

According to an investigation by the Jiangsu Provincial Consumer Protection Committee, among the software downloaded from official channels, Baofeng Movie Player and the software ticked by default during downloading pop up 6 times within 15 minutes, and Kuwo Music Search pops up once.

These actions are also suspected of violating advertising laws.

  In response to the chaos in the Internet pop-ups, since 2014, the regulatory authorities have initiated several rectification actions. During the rectification period, the relevant enterprises will indeed converge on illegal activities, but the chaos will continue soon after the special actions.

At the moment, when a new round of rectification actions is about to start, the competent authority should clarify the specific manifestations of violations of pop-up advertisements, severely punish those who violate the law and fail to correct them repeatedly, and promptly publicize them to the society, while keeping the channels for consumer complaints open. Establish a complaint feedback mechanism to form a long-term mechanism in combating illegal pop-ups.

In addition, the legal adjustments to online pop-ups still need to be refined. For example, in addition to the advertisers of illegal pop-ups, the publishers of pop-up advertisements (which may be the advertisers themselves, or the website or software providers) ) Imposing legal sanctions, so many measures can prevent pop-ups from being messy, and the Internet "psoriasis" can be cured.

  (The author is a professor at China University of Political Science and Law)