Set rules straight for live-streaming platform

By Su Tan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/17 22:53:40

A young Chinese woman surnamed Yang was recently detained for five days under China's National Anthem Law after disrespectfully singing a garbled version of the Chinese national anthem during a broadcast to millions of her followers on the live-streaming platform Huya. Her account on Huya was deleted and she issued two apology statements on her Sina Weibo account.

Yang's behavior has touched upon the built-up public annoyance against vulgar broadcasts on China's booming live-streaming platforms where a celebrity can be produced overnight. After Yang's punishment, many net users commented that she should be given a harsher punishment to send a strong enough warning.

Being an internet celebrity usually means opportunities and wealth. And there is a low threshold for broadcasting on the live-streaming platforms - even  eating or ranting can catch eyes. Yang became a star after singing a song on TikTok with more than 40 million followers on the platform. The followers would send to their favorite live-streamers virtual gifts that can be cashed in, bringing a handsome income.

As a result, the live-streamers go all out to make themselves stand out and distinguishable to attract eyeballs, often disregarding social convention, rules or even laws. It seems that the more absurd a live-streaming program is, the easier it can gain popularity. Vulgar, violence and spoofed classics are therefore often involved in live-streaming to attract followers. Some people live-stream tantalizing gestures, dangerous driving or abusing animals. There are also live-streamers seeking to boost their popularity by challenging the mainstream political consensus. Chen Yifa, a host on live-streaming portal Douyu, triggered public outrage by making fun of the Nanjing Massacre in a video and Douyu banned her account.

But rules have to be obeyed and there is no exception on the internet. The public is increasingly upset by the unhealthy live-stream content and is calling for a cleanup. Earlier this year an official campaign closed over 40,000 live-streaming accounts and banned about 2,000 live-streamers. And a number of celebrities have been punished for inappropriate broadcast behavior in accordance with relevant regulations and laws in recent years.

According to statistics of the China Internet Network Information Center, Chinese subscribers to live-streaming platforms reached 422 million as of 2017, growing 22.6 percent annually. The live-streaming industry made an overall revenue of 30.45 billion yuan ($4.4 billion) in 2017. There is a bigger chance than ever for an ordinary person to become widely known. But this sizable industry will only keep thriving if it complies with laws and rules and knows clearly where the boundary lies. To this end, both live-streamers and platforms have to stay conscious of what they can and cannot do.

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