Good news and bad news (for consumers): To counter grim economic prospects caused by Covid, China has decided to ease up on its tech crackdowns. On the other hand, minors will find it increasingly impossible to enjoy livestreaming.
The nation’s internet companies have received strict instructions to limit livestreaming access for minors. These measures include banning children from tipping or bestowing livestreamers with gifts, or becoming livestreamers themselves without parental consent, reads a statement issued by the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) last Saturday.
While similar regulations in the U.S. prioritize protecting kids from cyberbullying and sexual predators, China’s rules are intended to combat internet addiction.
Apps have also been forbidden to run user interface reward mechanisms that allow young users to tip or rank influencers based on the KOL’s income — features that glorify consumerism while encouraging Chinese youth to splurge on their favorite online personalities.
An influencer receiving a gift via a livestreaming platform. Image via Douyin
Not only have internet platforms been warned to practice self-censorship and to carry out more complex verification processes, but anyone using ‘underage mode’ should be denied access or service — all the better to ensure that minors are getting ample sleep.
China’s broadcasting regulator put forth new rules on Saturday that forbid minors under 16 years from watching livestreaming content after 10 p.m., in a blow to the booming sector.— Harmeet Singh Arora (@hsa1) May 9, 2022
China’s broadcasting regulator put forth new rules on Saturday that forbid minors under 16 years from watching livestreaming content after 10 p.m., in a blow to the booming sector.
— Harmeet Singh Arora (@hsa1) May 9, 2022
The statement adds to China’s ongoing efforts to eradicate ‘chaos’ in the livestreaming industry while ensuring that the internet is a safe space for minors.
Other regulations targeting the booming sector include the collection of identities and the detailed revenue of registered livestreamers from livestreaming platforms every six months to nip tax evasion in the bud.
Livestreaming platforms in China are plentiful. Some prominent names include ByteDance’s Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok; Kuaishou Technology Co’s namesake app Kuaishou; Alibaba-backed Bilibili, as well as Huya and Douyu, which are both operated by Tencent Holdings.
Cover image via VCG
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