Ride-hailing drivers found to be livestreaming trips with female passengers

A driver livestreams his trip with a female passengers. Photo: Baidu

Ride-hailing firm Dida Chuxing and livestreaming platform Huya Live have came under spotlight recently following a report in the Beijing Youth Daily that two Dida Chuxing drivers livestreamed trips with female passengers without informing them that they were being filmed went viral on social media.

Dida Chuxing is one of the fastest-growing players in China’s ride-hailing industry, which includes competitor Didi Chuxing.

During the trips, one driver chatted up the passenger, asking her age, occupation and whether she needed water or had eaten. Most comments in the livestreaming chat room were obscene comments directed at the passenger, according to videos on the Internet. The number of viewers also quickly rose from about 1,000 to over 20,000 after the passenger got in the car.

Another driver kept asking for his female passenger’s WeChat account and expressed a desire to court her, despite the passenger repeatedly saying she already had a boyfriend. Instead of stopping, the driver became more sexually explicit in his language and harassed the passenger with vulgar language, according to the videos.

In response, Huya Live on Wednesday released a statement on its official Sina Weibo account, saying drivers are banned from livestreaming any interaction with passengers such as invading their privacy or endangering safety while driving.

The ban extends to private meetings with passengers outside the car, the statement said.

The decision is in line with Huya Live’s responsibility to ensure healthy content, defend core values and provide high-quality livestreaming experience. Any violation would face severe punishment and be reported to supervisory departments, it added.

In an interview with the Beijing Youth Daily, one Huya employee said they are trying to identify the drivers, and that their accounts have been disabled.

Dida Chuxing on late Tuesday told the Beijing News that the two drivers were their employees and have been fired.

The reports came days after a Didi Chuxing driver confessed to killing his female passenger, which had sparked a nationwide debate over the safety of ride-hailing platforms.

“I often saw Didi Chuxing drivers livestreaming during the duration of their journeys with female passengers. I think their behavior not only infringes on the passengers’ privacy, but also poses a threat to driving safety. I do hope the platforms can do something to prevent such incidents from taking place,” a Weibo user nicknamed huyamatongc said.

“Hitch-hiking service and livestreaming platforms should not be outside the purview of law. To make money, some drivers dare to livestream their trips with their passengers without informing the latter. I suggest relevant departments take action as soon as possible to safeguard our safety and privacy,” a Weibo user nicknamed Xioyongle said.

Huya is not the only platform where drivers livestream their passengers. Panda Live and Douyu Live were also exposed to being involved in such behavior.

Livestreaming and short video industries have witnessed rapid development in China over the past few years. Many hosts and video bloggers make money through tips or “virtual gifts” that are exchangeable for cash. However, they can engage in improper conduct to garner attention from their viewers.

On June, a video of a little girl and her mother who was taking a shower was posted on Douyin, also known as Tik Tok. It immediately went viral on social media and was viewed millions of times.

Last December, Shuidi Live was accused of infringing on people’s privacy by installing cameras in public areas without giving any warning.

Beijing has tightened oversight of livestreaming industry and crackdown on content deemed inappropriate over the past year as its people become increasingly alert to privacy leak.

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