Chinese live-streaming app Kuaishou cracks down on teenage mum videos following state media criticism

Live-streaming is popular among young Chinese who see it as an easy way to make money and become famous

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 April, 2018, 11:29am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2018, 6:35pm

Chinese state media has named and shamed Kuaishou, one of China’s most popular live-streaming apps, for hosting videos that feature teenage mothers, just one day after official media criticism targeting the country’s most widely used news app.

A programme aired on Saturday by broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) singled out the Beijing-based Kuaishou for allowing a large number of online accounts to publish videos that showcase the life of teenage mothers in China. 

In the videos teenage girls, claiming to be aged 13 or 14, broadcast their life as young mothers – holding newborns in their arms or appearing in front of smartphone cameras looking pregnant. 

The minimum legal age for marriage in China is 22 for men and 20 for women. 

The CCTV criticism comes amid what seems to be a state media-led crackdown to clean up and regulate the country’s cyberspace. Late last week, two Chinese state media outlets named and shamed Jinri Toutiao, the country’s most popular news app, for publishing online medical advertisements seen as misleading and harmful to the public.

China’s largest news aggregator shamed by state media for misleading medical ads

In response to CCTV’s criticism, Kuaishou issued an apology on Sunday on its official account on Weibo, the Chinese social microblogging site. It said it has deleted hundreds of videos containing teenage mum content and blocked several accounts that were seen having an “extremely bad” influence. It has also upgraded its artificial intelligence system to better police this kind of content and prevent such videos from being uploaded, according to the statement.

Chinese authorities have launched several campaigns to increase control over live-streaming and to clean up cyberspace, targeting “vulgarity”, “obscenity”, and “wrong life values” in the live-streaming industry.

The Cyberspace Administration, China’s top internet regulator, requires all live-streaming platforms to be licensed and to censor live content before broadcasting it.