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China’s WeChat announces a bunch of new content restrictions

Crackdown.
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Chinese tech giant Tencent has announced a long list of banned activities on WeChat’s live streaming feature, including nose picking and spanking. Chinese regulators have increased attention on live streaming services, which have become popular since the start of the pandemic.

Tencent owns WeChat, a messaging app used by more than 1 billion people. WeChat is more like a basic need in China as it is not merely a messaging app; it can be used for virtually everything, including booking flights and making payments. Tencent launched the live streaming feature in WeChat last year.

Now, in a move that appears to be an attempt to comply with Beijing’s censorship rules, Tencent announced a long list of “violations” that are no longer going to be allowed on WeChat live streams.

Unsurprisingly, some of the banned activities underscore Beijing’s authoritarianism. These include a ban on nose picking, putting underwear over the head, fortune telling, and displaying tattoos. Other violations echo what is already censored in the world’s largest country, such as gambling and politically sensitive content.

Tencent also banned “vulgar” content on WeChat live streams, which include focusing the camera on “sensitive” body parts, spanking, and “seductive lip licking.”

The list also includes pieces of clothing women are not allowed to wear, such as fishnet stockings. Women are also not allowed to host live streams while wrapped in only bath towels or bed sheets.

According to CNBC, online platforms in China are clashing with regulators over their live streaming services, which the government has been closely monitoring since they started becoming popular during the pandemic.

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