Livestreamer detained over plan to ‘commit suicide’ to attract more followers
Published: Dec 02, 2021 01:07 AM
Handcuffs photo: VCG

Handcuffs photo: VCG


A livestreamer who claimed she would broadcast herself committing suicide by jumping into a river in order to attract more followers has been detained by local police. The related hashtag began trending on Chinese social media on Tuesday night, angering many Chinese netizens who said internet livestreamers are increasingly crossing moral lines. 

In a one-hour long livestream, the female livestreamer from North China’s Hebei Province said she would broadcast the process of jumping into the river, quickly attracting over 1,100 netizens who tried to persuade her against it. 

After seeing how many followers she had gained the livestream ended, but the woman was then detained by local police on suspicion of disrupting public order.

“This so-called ‘internet influencer’ has lost their mind and morality for the sake of earning meaningless popularity. They deserve more severe punishment,” one Chinese netizen said on Sina Weibo.

This is not the first time that a livestreamer has suggested doing something dangerous to catch people’s attention.

Some accounts have been banned over dangerous activities, pornographic posters or vulgar content. There have also been made-up and exaggerated love stories, even including fake marriages. 

In May, a gourmet livestreaming anchor was detained after eating Charonia tritonis, a national second-level protected animal in China. 

The live broadcast industry’s low entry barrier and potentially high gains have attracted a large number of people to the industry. 

According to the 2020 China Network Performance (Live) Industry Development Report, the number of registered internet anchor accounts has reached 130 million. 

The current chaotic internet environment shows it is necessary to consolidate the main responsibility for the livestreaming platforms and increase penalties for internet anchors who repeatedly violate regulations, such as imposing permanent bans, and further improving the platform’s live broadcast rules and supervision mechanism.

In November, the China Association of Performing Arts published the ninth warning list for livestreaming performances covering 88 internet influencers who promote distorted values, including abnormal aesthetics and vulgar scandals.

Netizens can also be to blame. In October, an online celebrity who was diagnosed with depression committed suicide by drinking pesticide during a live broadcast. Her friend later claimed that she did it because some netizens encouraged her.

Everyone should know the internet is not a place outside the law. Live broadcasting should have a line that cannot be crossed and there must be legal accountability.