No More Fake News? Douyin Now Requires Verification

By Billy Jiang, May 29, 2024

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Ever been astounded by a viral story on Chinese social media? 

Well, hold on to your hats, because the rules just changed.

As of May 27, Douyin (not to be confused with its international counterpart TikTok) announced a new 'Hot Content Verification Mechanism.' 

This system aims to sift out the truth from the clickbait, ensuring authenticity in two key areas:

  • Verifying participants in hot events

  • Flagging suspected staged content

Verifying Hot Event Participants

When a major event occurs, some participants or their close associates choose to speak out on Douyin. 

To prevent fake claims, staged scenarios, and spliced videos from misleading the public, Douyin has set new rules:

  • If an account claims to be a participant or a relative/friend of a participant in a hot event, the platform will verify the identity

  • Users must confirm their identity within 5 hours of receiving a system message

  • Failure to provide proof within the 5-hour time frame will result in the video being flagged

  • If identity confirmation is not completed within 24 hours, penalties – including account suspension – may be applied until credible proof is provided

  • For highly publicized events, participants may be required to submit identity/material verification promptly

  • For elderly or ill users who face genuine difficulties, the platform will consider extending the verification time

Flagging Suspected Staged Content

Creators who publish fictional content through dramatization must clearly label their videos as fictional. 

  • Captions should include phrases like 'fictional dramatization, for entertainment only'

  • Douyin offers a self-labeling tool for staged content: users with more than 10,000 followers can use the 'Post Assistant' to select an appropriate declaration

  • Users with fewer than 10,000 followers can go to 'Advanced Settings -> Post Assistant' to choose an appropriate declaration (Yup! This is for every user, whether they are top influencers or newcomers)

Let's be real – being given only 5 hours to confirm your identity when you unknowingly become part of a social media hot topic seems a bit tight. 

If participants choose not to verify for various reasons, does that mean the real event can quickly be dismissed as a 'rumor'?

Douyin's move is a response to the recent wave of attention-grabbing, self-directed dramas by some bloggers. 

Thurman-Mao-Yi-Bei.jpg

'Thurman猫一杯' staged content resulted in a complete ban of her entire social media presence in China. Image via That's

Not long ago, a vlogger named 'Thurman猫一杯' staged a story about finding a Chinese primary school student's homework in a Paris restaurant and returning it to China. 

The video went viral, topping trending charts, until it was revealed as a hoax.

In addition to managing hot event content, Chinese social media platforms are rolling out new verification measures. 

Chinese-Kim-Kardashians.jpg

Chinese Kim Kardashians are being banned on Chinese social media platforms. Image by That's

Accounts that flaunt wealth  often referred to as Chinese Kim Kardashians  are also under scrutiny. 

Many such accounts have already been muted or banned.

What do you think of these new measures on Chinese social media platforms? Share your 'friendly' thoughts with us. 

For the latest news from China, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.


[Cover image by Billy Jiang/That's]

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