Measures in place to keep content in check

When Bigo Live launched last year, the app quickly gained notoriety from streamers dressing provocatively and toeing the fine line between performing and explicit content.

Now, both Bigo Live and BeLive, aware that people will abuse the adage that sex sells for the prospect of easy money by strutting their stuff in front of a camera, have measures in place to keep content clean.

Both apps have age restrictions in place. Streamers who show explicit content are banned, as are users who use profanity or make abusive and derogatory remarks.

"Censorship moderators and artificial-intelligence censors are available 24/7 to monitor content, and live streamers who fail to abide by the rules risk a permanent ban," said a Bigo Live spokesman.

BeLive takes it one step further by banning the mobile phones of repeat offenders, using the phone's Unique Device Identifier so that banned users can't access the app.

BeLive moderators are also alerted each time a new stream is started, and will monitor it for unsavoury content.

"It can be quite obvious from the first five minutes of the streamer's opening act what he or she is up to," said BeLive co-founder Lim Kim Hui.

Such concerns are potential legal pitfalls that both companies want to avoid in order to sustain the business.

"If an app company comes to know about an obscene video but does nothing about it, then the app company could be liable," said lawyer Jonathan Kok, head of intellectual property and technology at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing.

"An app company that wants to be a credible social media site would impose rules and regulations to ensure that the user-generated content is kept clean."

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Measures in place to keep content in check'. Print Edition | Subscribe