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Videos showing excessive drinking discouraged

By ZHAO XINYING | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-14 09:21

Short videos or livestreaming shows online that feature people drinking too much liquor set a bad example and should be eradicated to prevent viewers from being misled, an expert and a video platform said.

On some short video platforms, viewers have been flocking to watch videos showing people drinking to excess. Many feature people drinking too much alcohol, but others show people consuming vast quantities of soft drink, milk tea or plain water without any obvious discomfort.

Zhu Wei, deputy director of the Communication Law Research Center at China University of Political Science and Law, said such content attracted the attention of curious people.

Once a webcast obtained a great deal of attention by using that approach, more webcasts and ordinary people would follow suit, and that was why there were so many people watching and imitating excessive drinking, he said.

However, Zhu said, no one could actually drink so much, and the seemingly great capacity for drinking shown in the videos was just a result of manipulative editing.

An article posted on the website of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said short videos or livestreaming about excessive drinking can be profitable for those who produce them.

It said a three-to four-hour livestreaming webcast with more than 10,000 followers could earn its producer 1,000 to 3,000 yuan ($150 to $450). As the income mainly came from tips from viewers and advertisements, the more viewers a webcast attracted, the more it could earn.

Zhu said the worst thing about such content was that it spread the unhealthy idea that as long as you risked your life to do something, you would be able to catch people's attention and make money.

"Minors are curious about many things, tend to imitate things they see and lack the ability to tell right things from wrong, and are particularly vulnerable to such harmful content," he added.

To combat such behavior, Zhu said, short video platforms should shoulder their responsibilities as content gatekeepers and prevent such content from being broadcast or being recommended to viewers.

Some platforms have started to take action.

In a statement released on Thursday, short video platform Douyin said it had noticed that some people had tried to attract viewers by broadcasting or livestreaming their drinking of whole bottles or big bowls of alcohol.

It said 16,427 short videos with such content had been taken off the platform and it had also warned Douyin users that excessive drinking is bad for health and reminded people to keep healthy by eating and drinking reasonably.

The statement said Douyin has strengthened the management of short videos and livestreaming showing people getting drunk. From April 1 to 7, a total of 900 webcasts that broadcast such content were subjected to disciplinary action.

"In the future, once content about alcohol overconsumption is detected on Douyin, the short videos or livestreams involved will be taken off the platform immediately and won't be recommended to any Douyin users," it said.

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