The Brief: Bigo Live is a live streaming and chat app with over 200 million users worldwide.
Bigo Live is especially popular in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Russia. Within the app, users can create their own live broadcasts or they can swipe through other people’s livestreams wherein they can contribute to text chats. Bigo Live is somewhat similar to Twitch but is less focused on gaming, entirely smartphone based, and encourages more users to create their own streams. There are mini-games within the app and functions for one-on-one voice or text chats.
Safety & Privacy
Bigo Live is for ages 17 and up. The app requires users to verify this by inputting their date of birth, but people under the age of 17 could easily abuse this feature by entering a false birthday.
There are opportunities within the app for users to chat with strangers, in both public and more intimate ways.
Bigo Live is free but it has in-app purchases and encourages streamers to compete for views in the hopes of monetizing their content.
Bigo Live specifically prohibits smoking, vulgarity, porn, indecent exposure, and copyright infringement, stating that live broadcasts are monitored 24 hours a day. Even with this system, it is possible for inappropriate content to slip through the cracks. Another issue stems from the nuances of what constitutes “vulgarity,” “indecent exposure,” or inappropriate content. Streams of young women and teenagers dancing in their underwear are common on the app. The voyeuristic and exhibitionistic elements of live streaming are evident in these streams. Although the person streaming may not be breaking the app’s guidelines, there can be sexual undertones and overtones in these performances. The chats on these streams are typically full of suggestive and lewd comments directed towards these young women.
Bigo Live is not for children or young teenagers, even though they do make-up some of its userbase. It is crucial for anyone using the app to consider the risks of live streaming and to implement internet safety and privacy measures.