All of ByteDance's Douyin's authenticated users below 14 will now access the app in a youth mode. In the youth mode, under-14 users can only access the app for up to 40 minutes a day, and only between 6am and 10pm, said the organisation. According to multiple reports, the company said the latest measure was aimed at protecting the youth, and it is the most stringent in the history of the platform.
According to an article in May by Chinese state news, Global Times, this new offering ensures that young users can only see content which is exclusively made for their age group and limits their access to services such as publishing content, watching live broadcast or tipping streamers. According to the article, for users between 14 and 18 years old, the platform will also provide protection through content recommendation and search.
Meanwhile, other popular social messaging apps have also rolled out measures to prevent young users from accessing games and functionalities, as well as searching nearby friends. For example, WeChat owned by Tencent also has a youth mode. When turned on, the users have limited access some games and payment functions.
The Chinese government has tightened its grip over the internet this year. For example, the authority have particularly ordered to better protect minors from online dangers including "blind" and "chaotic" worship of internet celebrities. In a previous report from the South China Morning Post, China’s state broadcaster CCTV heavily criticised fan clubs and the “malicious fandom" culture again, exploring the hierarchy and behaviour of fan clubs. Meanwhile, some fans were even encouraged to consume and created conflicts online, attacking other celebrities online or asking other people to attack other stars.
Also, earlier this month, in a notice issued by the National Radio and Television Administration, the authority said it will crack down on several areas including effeminate male idols and flaunting wealth. The notice said it requires broadcasters to ban "deformed" tastes such as "sissy idols" who do not conform to macho or masculine male stereotypes prevalent in traditional Chinese culture. It also required a ban on flaunting wealth, vulgar influencers and gossips. In the same section "boycotting being overly entertaining", the notice said there should have been more emphasis on traditional Chinese culture, revolution culture, socialist culture that they will help establish a correct beauty standard.
According to a Global Times article published in August, the account of Chinese male blogger Feng Xiaoyi was removed from Douyin after netizens commented that his videos were too "feminine" and lacked of "masculinity”. This came after the bloggers video “Eating a peach” went viral and netizens mocked the blogger for not being masculine.
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