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Douyin's 2023 Crackdown: 290,000 Host Accounts Closed in Effort to Combat Vulgar Content, Improper Challenges, and Excessive Spending

Douyin closed over 290,000 host accounts last year in a crackdown on harmful content and practices. The platform targeted issues such as vulgar content, improper challenge games, and encouraging excessive spending. Douyin collaborated with local authorities and the Chinese police to remove accounts engaged in harmful activities.

Douyin, the popular sibling app of ByteDance's global sensation TikTok, has announced that it has taken significant steps to enhance oversight of its live-streaming hosts. In an effort to curb inappropriate practices, the platform closed down over 290,000 host accounts last year. The crackdown targeted practices deemed harmful, such as outdoor live-streaming with vulgar content, improper challenge games among hosts, and encouraging viewers to spend more money.


According to a post published on Douyin's official WeChat account, some outdoor live-streaming sessions and challenge games led to issues like the use of vulgar language and harassment of passers-by. As part of a joint effort with local authorities in Changsha, the capital of central Hunan province, Douyin removed the accounts of more than 10,000 hosts since August last year. These hosts were engaged in "harmful" outdoor live-streaming activities in Changsha, a popular tourist destination known for its vibrant nightlife.


Chinese regulators have been tightening their grip on the live-streaming sector, which was projected to generate 700 billion yuan (US$98.2 billion) in 2023, according to Statista. The Cyberspace Administration of China has raised concerns about improper challenge games and enticing spending as part of its campaign to eliminate malicious online content.


Douyin's crackdown also targeted live streamers promoting scams, gambling, and pornographic content on the platform. Out of the hosts banned last year, nearly two-thirds, or 190,000, were involved in such activities. The platform has collaborated with the Chinese police, resulting in the arrest of over 300 criminal suspects.


However, some hosts have expressed concerns about being inadvertently banned as part of these measures. One host from the central province of Anhui, who wished to remain anonymous, acknowledged the importance of Douyin's efforts but highlighted the risk for veteran hosts to get caught up in the crackdown. Losing access to accounts that took years to build up is seen as a significant cost.


Douyin has been working on improving its management of live streamers. Last September, it introduced a revamped host rating system that considers factors such as the severity of alleged malpractice and the hosts' level of influence and popularity. Additionally, verified hosts who generate "good" content are rewarded with support from Douyin to create a healthy and positive environment for live-streaming activities.


The rise of AI-powered virtual hosts has also caught Douyin's attention. The platform has implemented rules to ensure more transparency, including additional identity checks for the individuals behind these virtual hosts.


With over 765 million Chinese internet users tuning into live sessions across various online services, live-streaming has become a widespread phenomenon. Douyin is particularly focused on protecting two vulnerable groups - minors and seniors.


The platform has introduced restrictions to prevent minors from hosting live sessions or tipping other hosts. It also has safeguards in place to intervene when its system detects that an elderly user is falling victim to online scams on the app.

 
  • Douyin closed over 290,000 host accounts last year in a crackdown on harmful content and practices.

  • The platform targeted issues such as vulgar content, improper challenge games, and encouraging excessive spending.

  • Douyin collaborated with local authorities and the Chinese police to remove accounts engaged in harmful activities.


Source: SCMP

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