A saleswoman promotes local dry fruits via livestream at the Grand Bazaar Pedestrian Mall in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on April 12. [Photo/Sipa]
A couple in Yichun, Jiangxi province, died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while taking a bath on Dec 3, leaving behind eight children, all below 18, with the youngest being just 9 months old.
As the news spread, many livestreamers rushed to the couple’s house, not to help the orphaned children but to livestream their plight.
So many livestreamers turned up during the couple’s funeral on Dec 8 that one could see more cameras and smartphones than mourners in some of the photographs. They created such a song and dance that the local police had to ask them to leave the children alone.
As a new medium of communication, livestreaming has huge advantages. It can be used to help people in many ways. For example, some livestreamers promote agricultural products online to help farmers increase their incomes and improve their lives. Some police officers use it to teach people how not to be duped by fraudsters.
But in the Yichun case, the livestreamers were exploiting the tragedy to grab as many eyeballs as possible to make more money, not because they wanted to help the orphaned children.
The real help for the children came from the local government, which gave 20,000 yuan ($3,141) to their grandmother. The local government will also give each child 1,200 yuan a month till they reach the age of 18.
Besides, their uncle has come forward to adopt them.
Although the social welfare system will support the children, those wishing to offer added help can donate money to them, if they want to.
In fact, some livestreamers reportedly tried to profit from people’s sympathy for the children’s plight by calling for people to donate for the orphans through their own bank accounts.
Since the livestreamers were embezzling money by doing this, the police should investigate and any caught doing so should be punished.
And livestreaming platforms should strictly regulate the livestreaming industry and shut down accounts that indulge in unethical behavior.