China's short video and live streaming platforms under increasing government scrutiny


One of China's biggest short video and live streaming platforms has voluntarily pulled its app from iOS and Android app stores for 30 days after the authorities accused it of spreading vulgar information involving juveniles in a statement on Sunday.

Meipai -- owned by Meitu, which also operates China's most popular selfie app -- had over 98 million monthly active users as of last year. Specializing in short video and live streaming, the app is popular among teenage girls.

In December, Meipai started to ban minors from live streaming on its platform after Chinese media reported that children were seen removing their clothes during broadcasts.

At that time, Meipai said it would work harder to censor inappropriate content.

However, three government departments including Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the State Administration of Radio and Television arranged talks with Meipai on Sunday, ordering the latter to carry out comprehensive rectification of its content.

According to a statement released by the CAC on Sunday, Meipai has been spreading vulgar information involving juveniles, which has harmed the Internet ecosystem.

Meipai on Saturday apologized for the spread of content which did not match the core socialist values on its platform.

Wu Xinhong, CEO of Meitu, posted an apology letter on the front page of Meipa, saying the app betrayed social trust and expectations and that he apologizes to the regulators and users on behalf of the Meipai team.

He also pledged to shut down its "Campus" channel and deactivated its "Trending" channel for 30 days.

Meipai is the latest in a string of online content platforms in China that have come under increasing government scrutiny.

Another two popular short video apps Kuaishou and Douyin also apologized following accusations that they spread vulgar content.

It is estimated that the number of netizens in China has exceeded 700 million by 2017, with students accounting for 25.4 percent. Notably, even children aged about three have access to the Internet, according to a recent report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC).

The phenomenon has triggered parents' concerns that their children might be influenced by the harmful content on the Internet and distracted from their study.

Therefore, they urge the authorities to take immediate and effective actions to carry out comprehensive rectification of the content.

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