Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Beware: Picking one’s nose, seductively licking one’s lips or flirting during a WeChat video are now punishable violations.
According to Reuters, the Tencent Holdings-owned super app is cracking down on content it deems as sensitive, publishing a new set of guidelines on Thursday that details an extensive list of things prohibited on the platform. This is being done in conformity with the Chinese government’s tight regulations on the internet, and the updated guidelines are meant to police activities on WeChat Channels specifically, a popular feature that lets users create and share short video clips similar to TikTok or Douyin.
The ban covers activities that can be considered sexual in nature. For instance, females are not allowed to wear bikinis or dresses that show cleavage. Meanwhile, males cannot be topless or be wearing only their underwear. Both sexes are also banned from wearing erotic clothing, namely “see-through clothes, flesh-coloured tights, fishnet stockings, suspenders, triangle shorts and low-rise shorts”, as The South China Morning Post points out. The wearing of government and police uniforms from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, are also banned.
When it comes to behaviour, users are prohibited from bending over to reveal cleavage or lifting their skirt up for the camera. Focusing the camera on parts of the body like the chest, hips, waist or buttocks is similarly banned. Seductive lip licking, hip-shaking, spanking, chest rubbing and other acts that simulate sex are considered violations, too.
Other banned activities include the aforementioned nose picking, wearing underwear over one’s head, live-streaming from bed and deliberately showing tattoos.
Users are also not allowed to smoke, drink, swear, promote or engage in gambling activity and broadcast from venues that restrict the entry of minors, such as bars, nightclubs and massage parlours.
Anything that goes against China’s “positive social values” is banned as well. This includes superstitious acts, whether it is fortunetelling, reading tarot cards or guessing a baby’s gender during pregnancy.
Besides these, WeChat, like other platforms overseas, bans activities considered “dangerous”. Viral challenges that ask users to inflict harm on themselves, for example, are prohibited. Some of these so-called “dangerous” activities, however, also cover extreme sports and popular pastimes, including skydiving, bungee jumping, free climbing, paragliding and parachuting, to name a few.
On top of all of this, WeChat is setting an age limit on who can star in videos, banning minors from being featured unless they are accompanied by an adult.
Users who fail to comply with or violate the updated guidelines can have their accounts shut down or face other forms of punishment, according to the platform’s security team.
WeChat is one of the largest platforms in China, boasting a monthly userbase of around 1 billion people. It is used for everything from instant messaging to making payments, and it also became a hub for viral video content when Channels was introduced in 2020.
Written by Kyle Chua