On Tuesday, June 23, the Cyberspace Administration of China named ten livestreaming platforms for disseminating “vulgar content” and directed local authorities to take punitive action against them, including freezing content uploads, suspending the registration of new users, and blacklisting offending livestream hosts.
In a notice, the CAC said it had reviewed the 31 major livestreaming platforms and found them to be sorely lacking in content supervision. Among the problems cited were vulgar language, scantily clad female hosts, poor management of user comments by the platforms, and the spread of “unhealthy” values. E-commerce livestreaming practices were not specifically mentioned, but are the subject of other ongoing regulatory efforts.
Internet regulators have sought to tackle these issues before. After amateur entertainment-oriented livestreaming took off in the mid-2010s, a lengthy campaign that ran from 2016 to 2017 sought to impose strict controls on the freewheeling sector. Dozens of platforms were shut down and thousands of livestream hosts were banned or sanctioned.
This time around, the targets are bigger companies that already have sophisticated content-moderation mechanisms in place, so it should be easier for them to fall in line.
More recently, Douyu and Huya, both of which are controlled by Tencent, came under fire for inserting gaming ads in their online education channels. Both platforms have now suspended content updates on their main channels following the CAC’s notice.