China’s internet watchdog shuts down 13,600 mukbang accounts for promoting food waste


  • China
  • Friday, 04 Sep 2020

BEIJING, Sept 4 (SCMP): China’s internet watchdog has closed down 13,600 short video and live-streaming accounts, as the government doubles down on its campaign against food waste in popular online eating shows known as mukbang.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the accounts it shut down the past month were found to have breached the government’s policy against food waste, according to a notice posted by the agency on its WeChat account on Wednesday.

Mukbang, a Korean term that translates to “eating broadcasts”, initially gained popularity in South Korea in 2010 via online streaming channels such as AfreecaTV. It is a genre that has also become popular in China, where there is a vast audience hooked on short video-sharing services and live-streaming programmes on platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou.

While a growing number of streaming video content creators make a living by consuming large quantities of food on camera, they have become a target of criticism after President Xi Jinping last month called for an end to the country’s “shocking and distressing” problem of food waste.

Chinese short video platforms Douyin and Kuaishou now show a reminder to users who search keywords related to eating shows, urging them to not waste food. Photo: SCMP

Popular short video-sharing service operators Kuaishou and Douyin did not immediately respond to separate inquiries for comment on Thursday.

The CAC’s latest crackdown marked the first time online eating shows were prominently mentioned by the agency among its various campaigns to rid China’s internet of illegal and lowbrow content.

In 2013, a year before the CAC was founded, Beijing launched its “Clean Plate Campaign” to curb food waste in the lavish feasts and receptions of government officials.

In the same week that Xi highlighted the problem, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV criticised online eating programmes that show participants consuming an excessive volume of food, and even spitting out the food after eating, describing them as “an extreme example of food waste”.

In response to the criticism, Chinese video-sharing app operators, such as ByteDance-owned Douyin, vowed to clean offending videos in their platforms.

Kuaishou and Douyin have each started to show a cautionary message above the search results if users look for certain keywords such as “eating show” or “competitive eaters” on their platforms. They remind users to “cherish food, and keep a reasonable diet” and say “no” to food waste.

On Chinese social media, the reaction to ban some online eating shows are mixed. While many support the government’s crackdown against food waste, others have questioned how the regulator determines which shows are authentic food review programmes and those that are not. - South China Morning Post

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Did you find this article insightful?

Yes
No

100% readers found this article insightful

Next In Aseanplus News

Asean News Headlines as at 7pm on Friday (March 5)
Coup-hit Myanmar sees temporary nationwide electricity outage; fresh bloodshed on the streets
Cambodian dog slaughterhouse shuts as meat trade faces pressure
Ohio man admits paying poor Filipino moms for child porn
Philippines records 3,045 new Covid-19 cases, highest in over 4 months; total now at 587,704
Health Minister: More than 350,000 Singapore residents have received first Covid-19 jab; 9 imported Covid-19 cases on Friday (March 5)
Jokowi: Indonesia aims to vaccinate 40 million people by June as country's Covid-19 total goes above 1.368 million
Thailand plans to vaccinate 40 million population in 2021; confirms 79 new Covid-19 cases on Friday (March 5)
China to shorten negative lists and encourage more foreign investment in high-tech, modern services industries
MMEA tracking Vietnamese fishing crew who escaped after their boats sank

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers