China's WeChat bans nose-picking, spanking in bid to clean up livestreams

FILE PHOTO: Illustration picture of WeChat logo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese social media platform WeChat on Thursday published a list of activities and "violations" it is banning in a bid to clean up its livestreaming service, including "indecent" nose-picking and spanking games.

WeChat, owned by Tencent Holdings, is ubiquitous in China, where it is used by around 1 billion people for everything from sending instant messages to ordering pizzas. Its popular "Channels" feature, launched in 2020, allows users to make and follow live broadcasts.

China closely regulates its internet and has been increasingly clamping down on content that is politically or socially sensitive.

In a post on the platform, WeChat's security centre described in detail more than 70 "common violations" that had been discovered during daily monitoring of the livestream service, and urged hosts to pay attention to the rules to avoid being punished.

Besides nose-picking and spanking, other "vulgar" activities that are banned include putting underwear over one's head and focusing the camera lens on sensitive parts of the body, such as the chest or buttocks, it said.

Deliberately showing tattoos, using bed sheets and quilts as props and women broadcasting while wearing only underwear or a bikini, or being wrapped in a bath towel, were also listed as violations.

Other offences include discussing politically sensitive topics, promoting gambling activities, and broadcasting from venues unsuitable for minors such as bars, nightclubs and foot massage parlours.

Any livestream violations will result in penalties being imposed on the channel and its host, the WeChat security team said.

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Additional reporting by Meg Shen and Twinnie Siu; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Mike Harrison)