Nasdaq-listed livestreaming platform Douyu banned a female host on Thursday for drumming up hype surrounding her accidental face reveal, according to a statement on Weibo.

Why it matters: China’s live-streaming platforms are carrying out more stringent self-regulation over content as the nine-month internet cleanup campaign lead by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications continues.

  • A number of reading apps have just been censured or suspended by regulators for lowbrow and other non-compliant content.

Details: The incident started with a technical error during a livestream from user “Your Highness Qiao Biluo.” The streamer had amassed more than 100,000 followers without ever showing her real face thanks to her soft voice. Her fans thought she was relatively young but a glitch mid-stream removed her cartoon filter and revealed her to be a middle-aged woman.

  • The livestreamer said in an earlier broadcast that she wouldn’t show her face until she had received gifts totaling more than RMB 100,000 ($11,950).
  • After the incident, the host claimed that the face reveal was planned, saying that she paid RMB 280,000 for it.
  • According to the company’s statement, the livestreamer’s comments “challenged the bottom line of the public and caused negative social influence.” As punishment, Douyu permanently banned her channel and remove all her content.
  • Her followers surged from 50,000 to 700,000 as of Wednesday while a video of the incident has garnered 250 million views on  Weibo.

Context: A number of well-known Chinese livestreamers have been banned for inappropriate behavior in the past.

  • Lu Benwei, one of Douyu’s most popular hosts, was banned from all live-streaming platforms by the country’s top internet regulator, the Cyber Administration of China, for verbally abusing a content creator who accused him of cheating.
  • Chen Yifa, another heavyweight livestreamer, was banned for joking about historical events such as the Nanjing Massacre.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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