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Featuring many streams that can be described as suggestive at best and pornographic at worst, it is not difficult to find mature and adult content on the Bigo Live. If you were to install and open one of the top live streaming apps on Google Play Store — Bigo Live — the home would shock you.
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Featuring many streams that can be described as suggestive at best and pornographic at worst, it is not difficult to find mature and adult content on the platform. It has over 40 million downlo in India with almost 12, official broadcasters in the country.
It has agencies working for it in India to recruit broadcasters and train them. However, Nitish Chandan, a cyber security specialist, who investigated content on the app, made some alarming observations about it. Further, all the popular live streams involved young girls.
Apart from videos of girls dancing suggestively, Nitish also found that there were streams on Bigo Live where broadcasters — a lot of them women — were asking viewers to send them virtual gifts, Paytm cash and so on for doing something in return — most often sexual in nature.
However, things can get quite ugly here.
Section 67 makes publishing and transmission of obscene material in electronic form illegal. Further, considering this app is open for teenagers to use as well makes it all the more problematic.
Monitor & supervise
Apart from these, Bigo Live also appears to have live streaming of copyrighted material such as films. A salient part of the app and its popularity is that broadcasters can earn money on it by encashing the gifts and awards they receive on the platform.
In one stream, a woman was crying saying that she has not received her salary.
Based on more such discussions, he adds that a monthly salary of a broadcaster could range from Rs 50, to Rs 4 lakh. This poses two problems. Firstly, it makes broadcasters do acts that they may be uncomfortable with, or even illegal, in order to make money.
Common sense says
Secondly, this could create an incentive for exploitation. In another instance, Nitish recounts, a girl can be seen dancing on the live stream.
Then she is pulled aside by a hand and another girl is pushed into the frame. Then they are both told to dance together.
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After this, a third person, a man, comes in the frame and starts directing them as to where they should dance and how. It was again unclear if these dancers were consenting and above Further, there are also instances of recruiters who claim to be with Bigo Live on Linkedin, looking for only women broadcasters. In one live stream Nitish saw on the app, a man requested his audience of to send him gifts and goodies on the app in return for sexually abusing his wife on video.
And though he reported the for pornographic content, it was not taken down. This happened several times, with several offensive live streams, Nitish claims.
Out of 23 reports he made of obscene content on the platform, only three s were taken down, Nitish says. For starters, companies like Google and Apple need to call these apps out.
This lack of regulation is a problem with a host of other apps, especially ones that are not Indian. And broadcasters know how to exploit it — in some conversations on Bigo Live, Nitish observed users rejoicing that the company does not understand Hindi, otherwise they would have been behind bars. This is not a problem with Bigo Live alone.
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Nitish says that there is a lot of self-generated content here by kids and teens themselves, a lot of which is suggestive in nature. Screenshot from Kwai. The video on the left features a minor with a suggestive caption.
There needs to be some effort to raise awareness about this among broadcasters as well as viewers. Geetika Mantri Follow geetikamantri.
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