Business· Markets

China video app Douyin aims to prevent addiction among youth

minutes 2021/04/15 02:42:33

Apr 15, 2021 (China Knowledge) - Douyin, the Chinese version of ByteDance global sensation TikTok, said on Tuesday at a youth protection opening event that it has taken down more than 2 mln illegal videos and banned more than 200,000 malicious accounts targeting minors last year.

The app, with 600 mln daily active users, has long been criticized for vulgar content inappropriate for young audience spreading on its platform. In Jan, it was fined the maximum penalty for spreading "obscene, pornographic and vulgar information" online.

To prevent minors from becoming addicted to the app, Douyin has added a "youth mode" which prevents users from watching the app more than 40 minutes at a time when activated and can't use the app between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Douyin also said that any content that is viewable under youth mode is screened by content reviewers and is limited to science, education, and animation videos without commercials.

Last Nov, the National Radio and Television Administration issued a new regulation that bans minors from sending digital gifts to live-streamers and requiring real-name verification to do so.

Fan Yongqing, product manager of Douyin's live-streaming business said that the company has deployed mechanisms to prevent minor users from sending gifts to live-streamers, including the use of facial recognition technology to detect children. Live-streamers who are found inducing minors to send gifts to them would also have their accounts banned. In a crackdown early this year, it had banned 205 live-streamers for violating the rule.

It has set up a refund mechanism, allowing adult guardians to request refunds if they can prove they didn't send the gifts themselves. From May 2020 to Mar 2021, Douyin refunded 36,000 users for payments made by minors.

Douyin also said that the mechanism had also created loopholes for adult users to request refunds, even if they made the payments themselves. Between May 2020 and Mar 2021, 63.5% of requests received by the company were from adult users claiming the payments were made by their minor children but were actually not.

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