Chinese live streamers need qualifications for certain topics: Regulators

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Chinese regulators have sought to clean up the country’s popular live-streaming industry. This includes rules on what online influencers can and cannot say and what topics are prohibited.

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Online influencers in China must now have a qualification to talk about certain topics such as law and medicine, regulators said on Tuesday.

For content that requires a “higher professional level,” live broadcasters must hold a corresponding qualification to talk about such topics, said China’s State Administration of Radio and Television and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in a joint press release.

Influencers must show these qualifications to the live streaming platform they use. These qualifications must then be reviewed by the platform.

The latest rules continue Beijing’s efforts to clean up its hugely popular live-streaming sector which involves some of China’s biggest companies from Tencent and Alibaba to TikTok owner ByteDance. Influencers often use such platforms to sell products and are able to rack up billions of dollars in sales within hours.

Over the past 16 months, China has enacted new regulations in different areas of the tech sector in a bid to reign in the power of its once freewheeling tech giants. There has also been a push for greater control over areas that Beijing sees as influencing society, including video games, live streaming and celebrity culture.

Last month, Chinese regulators banned children under 16 from watching live content after 10 p.m. and buying virtual gifts for influencers.

The latest rules from the two Chinese government agencies establish a “code of conduct” for online influencers.

Live streamers are not allowed to post content that weakens or distorts the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, for example. China has a strict censorship system which means content Beijing doesn’t like will be removed from the internet.

Influencers are also not allowed to use so-called deep forgery technology to tamper with party or state leaders. This technology uses artificial intelligence to distort faces and could be used to insert the face of a politician or leader into a video it was not in.

Live streamers are also not allowed to show excessive food waste, lots of luxuries, or an extravagant lifestyle, and the content must not be sexually suggestive or provocative.

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