China orders platforms to step up governance of youth livestreamers

livestreamers China
FILE PHOTO: A man plays online game on a computer at an internet cafe in Beijing, China August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -China on Saturday ordered internet platforms to step up governance of how under-18s livestreamers use their services as part of an ongoing regulatory crackdown on the booming sector.

The platforms need to step up controls to stop underage users from tipping livestreamers or becoming livestreamers themselves without guardian consent, the National Radio and Television Administration said in a statement.

They will also need to strengthen the management of peak hours for such shows and shows will need to be “forcibly” turned off by 10 p.m. local time for users of their parental control “youth mode” functions, it added.

The orders come after China last month launched a two-month special campaign to clean up “chaos” in online livestreaming and short video businesses, part of a broader plan to promote what is deemed as appropriate and legal content.

As the starting point, the focus was to rectify content that is “pornographic, ugly, strange, fake, vulgar and (promotes) gambling,” the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement.

Last year, China launched “special ops” to remove more than 1 billion online accounts and thousands of websites to create an internet that reflected the country’s socialist values.

Among the country’s most prominent livestreaming platforms are ByteDance’s Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, Kuaishou, Alibaba-backed Bilibili, as well as Huya and Douyu, which are both backed by Tencent Holdings.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Stephen Coates and Michael Perry)

Related article: China watchdog starts clean up of online live-streaming chaos

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