China Have Nationalised Live-Streaming on 2 Major Social Media Platforms

thatsmag.com
With the seemingly endless run of stories about online abuse, fake news and all the other issues which continue to plague social media in the west, it can be oddly refreshing to look to China and see what developments are occurring, since often they are remarkably different and almost totally removed from our cultural touchstones. In this most recent case though, it's just bleak and disconcerting.

Reports have started coming in that two major social networks - Yizhibo and Blued - have blocked international users from using the live-streaming services. What that means is that anyone who isn't a Chinese national is now barred from live-streaming video. There was actually some forewarning that this might happen, as some new regulations put forward at the end of last year stated that internationals would have to attain a special permit before streaming.

Whether or not anyone actually picked up on that at the time, it's frustratingly unclear exactly how international Chinese residents go about getting said permit, but allegedly that information isn't even publicly available yet. So, to sum up, foreigners living in China need a special permit to stream video, and there's no way of actually getting said permit yet.  Yeah, this is just a ban, China, I hate to break it to you.

Streaming is one of the biggest guiding lights of Chinese social media, even more so than it is in the west, remarkably. Some 300 million people live streamed in China last year alone, and it's launched the career of many an online celebrity in the same way that YouTube has over here.

So, why limit access to foreign residents? Well, the Chinese government has said this whole thing about making sure that anything popular conforms to their 'socialist' ideals, in this instance they're just a little bit late to the party. This isn't the only regulation they've placed on streaming; pornography is outright banned from it now, but so is the act of 'suggestively' consuming a banana.

Are China about to kill off one of their biggest new cultural booms? Well, not kill, but certainly stifle. Even if they don't introduce any new regulations, chances are 2017 won't be as big a year for streaming as 2016 was, being that young Chinese people aren't as boundlessly loyal to the government as past generations have been, and they certainly don't like it when the government touches their stuff. There is somewhere that foreign Chinese residents can stream though - Facebook and Snapchat...

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