Tighter rules for online celebrities: observers

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/30 23:18:40

Identity of ‘cute goddess’ shocks viewers

The true identity of a 58-year-old online Chinese celebrity (left) and what she looked like (right) with the help of a beauty cam and other tools Photo: Screenshot of btime.com

A shocking twist of the "cute goddess" online celebrity turning out to be a 58-year-old woman mirrors China's chaotic online celebrity industry, where no one knows what's really behind the screen, and anything - including illegal information - can be transmitted through the internet. 

A female online celebrity known for her "sweet and healing voice" shocked tens of thousands of her followers during a routine live broadcast at Chinese livestreaming platform Douyu, as a superimposed cartoon which covered her face failed to appear due to a technical glitch. 

She claimed to be 58 years old, but not before many of her fans left derogatory comments on her chat room. 

Many viewers fall for wanghong (Chinese word for online celebrity). In order to attract followers, wanghong disguise themselves or do outrageous things like eating live frogs and octopus in a livestream.

"Indoorsman" is the main group of audience of wanghong. The livestream provides them a positive and timely interaction with "dreamy women" they imagined. Viewers who spend money on virtual gifts will be noticed by the livestreamer and even get feedback from them, which will further stimulate their addiction.  

Those who pledge large sums of money and gifts can feel superior. 

Curiosity is also behind this phenomenon. When a person or incident becomes a hot topic, people will be curious about his or her background and identity. Clicks on the internet will also generate revenue, Zhu Wei, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Take the 58-year-old woman as an example. After the technical glitch, she claimed revealing her true identity was a plan to add fame. 

Media reported on Tuesday that she began to take advertisements for beauty cameras, and her followers rose from 50,000 to 673,000 overnight.  

She also announced on Tuesday morning that she will launch a music album. 

China Economic Times reported in 2018 that the wanghong market was expected to reach 2 trillion yuan ($300 billion) in 2018. 

There were 588 million fans for wanghong in China, and 53.9 percent of them are under 25 year old, according to an online report.

Analysts said some wanghong have a negative influence on teenagers, who are not mature enough to tell right from wrong. 

In August 2018, Douyu banned Chenyifaer, a popular streamer with 11 million followers, from streaming after she was found to have made fun of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-45) during a stream in 2016.

The platform said in a statement that her behavior caused a bad influence.

Zhu, who has attended the legislation work to regulate livestreaming in 2016, told the Global Times that China has existing laws and regulations to create a cleaner and safer online environment.  

Platforms which host wanghong are responsible because they already know and allow online celebrities to use disguises to cheat and attract viewers, Zhu explained.  

Newspaper headline: Tighter rules for online celeb

Posted in: SOCIETY

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