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Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo
Agencies 4 Growth Festival Logo

China shuts down live streaming app that was created to broadcast porn, arrests founders

The Macheng police had been investigating the group for over a year. Photo: Weibo.

China has arrested a group of 20 people that are suspected of creating a live streaming app to broadcast pornography.

18 suspects were arrested in the city of Macheng in Hubei province, while two others were arrested in Philippines for creating a platform called Huahua, which garnered more than 900,000 registered users and helped the group earn RMB 16 million (US$2.3m).

The Macheng police had been investigating the group for over a year, according to The South China Morning Post, after receiving a tip-off that users were being asked to download Huahua in chat groups on Chinese messaging app QQ through QR codes.

After joining the app, users were able to watch live streamers’ erotic performances and make requests by paying up to almost RMB 2,000 (US$290). The most popular streams drew more than 2,000 viewers at a time.

These users did not know each other’s identities and had only one point of contact, as the group worked to avoid detection from the police. Some of the founders recruited live streamers, promoted the app on social platforms and laundered money in Mongolia with foreign bank accounts.

The app’s appearance and servers were also changed several times but ultimately failed to deceive the police.

Social media giants like Tencent, Baidu and Sina Weibo have previously been investigated by the Cyberspace Administration of China for “violating internet laws" for sharing user-generated content laden with “violence, porn, rumours”.

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