A new social network featuring live video streaming has become a new platform for Vietnamese youths to showcase their lifestyles, including non-traditional ones, as the world watches on. At one o’clock in the morning recently, over 6,500 users were on Bigo Live, a live video streaming social network that allows its users to broadcast their activities live via smartphones to their audience of choice, and were still wide awake watching a group of three youths club-dancing for their camera phone. Out of the blue, a girl in the group nicknamed Trang said, “I’ll flash when the view count reaches 7,000. Hurry up, guys!"
Three minutes later, the girl smiled suggestively and pulled up her shirt to reveal her breasts in front of 7,234 live viewers. This is only one example of hundreds of sexually explicit live streams broadcast daily on Bigo Live, which has attracted over one million users, most aged 18 to 25, since its launch in Vietnam on May 18, boasting 700,000 active daily users. Getting high ‘live’ Logging into a chat room on Bigo Live, developed by a Singaporean company, at 20 after midnight last Monday, one Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter found himself watching a live broadcast of a group getting wasted inside a secluded room. The camera holder, who identified himself as V. from Ho Chi Minh City, said the group was “eating candies” (a Vietnamese slang term for synthetic drugs).
Over 3,000 viewers watched on as the group proceeded to take the drugs, while comments popped up furiously onto the screen, many encouraging the group and asking questions like; “are those colored candies?” or “these guys are for real,” and “shoot it up, guys.” After a few minutes, V. turned the camera at his face and wrapped up on about a dozen pink pills on a white piece of paper. V. then proceeded to distribute the drugs to everyone in the room, before the lights went out and club music could be heard in the background. By the time V. ended his live stream, the application’s view counter had calculated that as many as 15,502 viewers were watching the group get high in real-time.
At 12:30 am in another chat room, a young man with username N.O. was live-streaming himself touching the private parts of a girl lying by his side, all the while asking where his viewers would like to see him touch the girl next. Despite ending after ten minutes and 49 seconds, the sexually explicit live broadcast had already attracted as many as 17,414 live viewers. In another chat room, two female undergraduates dressed in suggestive clothes could be seen dancing erotically in front of the camera while sharing their Facebook addresses to the 23,332 viewers at two in the morning.