Seven departments, including the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Taxation, the State Administration of Market Supervision and Administration, and the State Administration of Radio and Television, jointly issued on April 23, 2021 the Measures for the Administration of Livestream Marketing (Trial Implementation) (the “Measures”), which came into effect on May 25, 2021. The Measures consist of four parts, namely the General Provisions, Livestream Marketing Platforms, Requirements for Livestream Room Operators and Marketers, and Supervision, Administration and Legal Liabilities. The Measures aim to regulate the current order of the Internet market and create a healthy cyberspace.
The Measures specifically provide that a livestream marketing platform shall establish a robust mechanism for the registration and cancellation of accounts and livestreaming marketing functions, information security management, marketing code of conduct, protection of minors, protection of consumer rights and interests, personal information protection, and network and data security management, etc.
The Measures emphasize that a platform should carry out security assessments in accordance with law, fulfill the recordation formalities, obtain the relevant administrative permits, possess the technical ability to maintain the security of livestreamed content and the managerial ability to develop rules and conventions for the platform. The Measures also require a platform to develop a blacklist of livestream marketing goods and services, authenticate and verify the real identities of livestream operators and marketers, strengthen the real-time management, audit and inspection of livestream marketing content, take measures against suspected unlawful high-risk marketing, assume the corresponding platform liability for paid traffic and other services, establish and improve mechanisms to protect minors, enhance the online rollout and usage management of new technologies, applications and functionalities, create an account grading system and a blacklist system for livestream room operators, and establish a robust complaint and reporting mechanism.
Livestream publishers engaging in marketing activities are divided into livestream room operators and livestream marketers, and specifically stipulate the age restriction and prohibited conduct. It is worth noting that natural person livestream marketers or room operator should be at least 16 years old; minors over 16 years applying to become livestream marketers or room operators shall receive the permission of their guardians. In addition, specific requirements are set out for their advertising activities, online and offline livestreaming premises, verification of goods and services information, use of virtual personas, business cooperation with livestream marketer service organizations and other aspects.
The Measures stress that a livestream marketing platform should actively help in safeguarding consumers’ rights and interests, and provide the necessary evidence and other support. Livestream room operators and marketers shall perform their duties and obligations to protect consumer rights and interests and shall not deliberately delay or refuse lawful and reasonable requests from the consumers without justification.
Meanwhile, the Measures improve the systematic requirements for the linkage of civil, administrative and criminal liabilities. Violations of the Measures that caused damage to others shall cause those responsible to assume civil liability; if the violation constitutes a crime, criminal liability will be prosecuted. If there is not yet a crime, the cyberspace and other authorities shall deal with the matter according to their respective responsibilities.