Live streaming platforms promise clean up after ride-sharing drivers caught recording female passengers for profit

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Another incident is shaking up China’s ride-hailing industry after multiple ride-sharing drivers were caught live-streaming themselves and even harassing their female passengers. Since the discovery, several live streaming platforms have announced tightening streaming rules.

News of drivers live-streaming passengers on popular Chinese streaming site Huya without their knowledge broke out on August 29. The news came only several days after China was shaken by a rape and murder of a young woman by a driver who picked her up through ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing’s carpooling service. The murder, which was the second one on Didi’s platform in only three months brought China’s ride-sharing and ride-hailing industry under close attention by the authorities.

The drivers—suspected of belonging to the carpooling service of a smaller-scale Didi competitor Dida Chuxing—exhibited disturbing behavior such as allowing audiences to choose their next fare based on user profile photos and directly harassing women with vulgar language in order to boost their popularity

Audience members were reported to post crude comments during the live streaming sessions. According to a Beijing Youth Daily report, once a female passenger boarded the car, the audience could soar up to 34,000. One drive reportedly made RMB 700 in a single day by streaming female passengers.

Live streaming platforms including Kuaishou, Huya, YY, and widely popular ByteDance’s short video site Douyin promised to tighten rules and supervision in order to ensure privacy according to The Paper.

Huya, who hosted the reported broadcast, said that the live-streaming was against regulations and that it will carry out special rectification against the violations. The live streaming site banned broadcasting from any type of ride-hailing or ride-sharing vehicle and suspended the two accounts that were reported to be live-streaming passengers on August 29.

The live streaming incident is just another part of China’s ride-hailing crisis, the brunt of which is carried by Didi—the country’s largest platform. According to reports, over the past four years, media and relevant authorities reported at least 50 sexual harassment and assault incidents by Didi drivers. Didi was summoned by authorities in 10 Chinese cities while the Ministry of Transport said the incidents exposed gaping operational loopholes of the Didi Chuxing platform.

The company has issued an apology after the murder that took place August 24 and once again suspended its carpooling service, a move which was soon followed by Alibaba-backed AutoNavi which also operates a carpooling service.