China Targets Extreme Internet Fandoms in a New Crackdown

Youth with You was a streaming TV show that featured young Chinese men singing and dancing, accompanied by pop stars mentors. To vote for a contestant on the latest season, viewers had to scan the QR code on a bottle of yogurt or milk in order to vote. Superfans bought millions of dollars worth of dairy products, and did exactly that.
Many of the milk was being resold, or worse, even thrown away. A viral video showed voters pouring liters of milk down the drain in April. Filming was stopped due to the outrage that followed, which culminated in a scathing editorial published by the state-run Xinhua news station on May 4.

Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift are two examples of Western stars who have had devoted fan bases. China is home to many internet stars and talent show contestants, some of whom are not well-known. They attract passionate fans who will spend their money to support them.

Last year, Xiao Zhan's fans prompted authorities to close a fan fiction website. They complained that the site was pornographic and that a piece featured the actor as a teenage crossdresser who lusts after a male celebrity. The site's followers called for a boycott on Xiao Zhan products and accused each side of cyberbullying and doxing the other. A group of online fans discussed ways to free Kris Wu, a Canadian-based singer, from detention.

Chinese officials declared that they were fed up in August. To control celebrity culture and fan clubs, the government issued extensive guidance. Cyberspace Administration of China prohibited the popularity ranking of celebrities on social media. It also instructed platforms to limit the participation of those under 18. The Cyberspace Administration of China instructed platforms not to encourage fans to consume or to require them to purchase something in order to vote for talent shows. Managers were instructed to manage fan groups and stop rival factions from squabbling.

China's president Xi Jinping has announced new measures aimed at entertainment. Prior actions were taken against the education sector and real estate. Young people are increasingly influenced by celebrity culture and want to be in control of the content that appears on their screens.

American parents might wish their children spent less time following TikTok influencers such as Addison Rae and purchasing her beauty products. US officials also called for TikTok's increased enforcement of content that is served to minors. This includes the devious licks contest, where students uploaded videos of themselves trashing school property. TikTok removed many videos and banned the term. China's measures are notable for their uniqueness and speed of implementation.