Douyin's playful platform governance: Platform's self-regulation and content creators’ participatory surveillance

Zhen Ye*, Qian Huang, Tonny Krijnen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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To mediate the tensions between state regulation and content-creator incentives, Chinese social media platforms have developed an interesting practice of using platform official accounts to communicate their rules to the creator community. These accounts anthropomorphize platforms, enabling platforms to represent their regulatory bodies using fictional human characters or animated figures. The phenomenon of platform anthropomorphization in the Chinese context stems from a different ontological understanding of platform governance. The first part of this article discusses the logic of platform governance in China, and highlights a different state–platform relationship in comparison to the US and European countries. In the second part, the article turns to focus on Douyin as a case study to further investigate how Chinese social media platforms establish rules and govern content creators. By analysing Douyin's public-facing policy documents and its platform official account, Douyin Safety Centre, we reveal a mechanism of playful governance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2024

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© The Author(s) 2024.

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