New regulations tackle dubious content, excessive spending in livestreaming sessions
Published: Feb 10, 2021 02:44 AM

A saleswoman promotes stuffed toys via livestreaming at an international trading center in Baigou New Township, Baoding City of north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 2, 2021. Traders in the Baigou New Township have launched an on-line shopping event for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, where price discounts, electronic coupons, and purchase subsidies are offered to attract more buyers for their commodities such as suit cases, garments, and stuffed toys. Photo:  Feng Yun/Xinhua

Internet livestreaming platforms need to put a reasonable ceiling on single virtual consumption items and single user contributions, according to new livestreaming management guidelines released late Tuesday by seven Chinese government departments including the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), with the aim of installing a safety net against impulse spending during livestream sessions. 

The guidelines were jointly published by departments including the CAC, the National Office for the Fight Against Pornography and Illegal Publications, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Information, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Market Regulation. They are intended to strengthen the guidance and regulations for the Internet livestreaming sector. 

The new rules focus on regulating online user contributions, pushing for the classification and rating management of livestream accounts, uplifting cultural tastes, and fostering the high-quality development of the livestreaming sector, read a statement outlining the new guidelines on the CAC's website. 

The internet livestreaming sector has for some time been tainted with undesirable content, such as obscene and pornographic information. It has also had problems including streamers of uneven quality and runaway top-ups and user contributions, prompting the formulation and implementation of the new guidelines. 

The guidelines aim to prevent irrational and impulse spending by users, as well as to rein in commercial publicity activities. There will be a mechanism for classification and rating management of livestream accounts, along with rules for the management of livestreaming user contributions and social influencer marketing.

A ceiling needs to be placed on single virtual products and single user contributions, the statement said, and reminders will be sent to users if the amount of single-day contributions hits certain thresholds. In addition, a cooling-off period and a grace period will be instituted if need be.

The guidelines encourage all community sectors, particularly livestreaming users, to seek wide participation in governing the livestreaming industry, so that there can be a healthy, content-rich livestreaming space with positive energy for the country's online population, especially teens and young adults.

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