Meipai, the short video sharing app that’s part of the Hong Kong-listed Meitu Inc., issued a set of new strict rules on content regulation yesterday. Users under 18 years old will be banned from live streaming, and all existing users must undergo a renewed real-name verification process by December, said Meitu on its official Weibo account (in Chinese).

In addition, Meipai is ramping up its content auditing productivity, which is done both automatically and manually. The short video giant also calls on users to get involved, shelling out up to RMB 5,000 in reward for every piece of illegal content reported.

Online censorship is not new in China but the extent to which it is happening this year has sent chills down the spines of professional creators and everyday users. Chat group admins are now held accountable for what is said in their spaces, for example, and foreign content was taken down from major video streaming sites. President Xi has reiterated the party’s intent to oversee and drive public ideology around the time of the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle that took place in October.

Translated as “beautiful filming” in Chinese, Meipai is one of the country’s largest short video social apps along with the Tencent-backed Kuaishou and Weibo’s Miaopai. The short video sector is expandingly quickly thanks to China’s increasingly cheap data and growing mobile penetration. These platforms have, however, been plagued by obscene and vulgar content and called to have private chats with media watchdogs.

Improved video recognition capacity is making it easier for video companies to comb through content, which is traditionally harder to filter than text. Instead of auditing frames every five seconds, Meipai is now able to check every two seconds, according to the company notice.

As of June Meipai claims 152 million monthly active users, according to its parent company’s H1 financial results. Unlike Kuaishou, which is known for its “down-to-earth” users concentrated in lower-tier cities, Meipai prides itself on an overwhelmingly young, female user base living in China’s Tier 1 and 2 cities.

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.

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