Chinese livestreaming app has been ordered to pay compensation to the mother of a rooftop daredevil for its part in his untimely death.
On November 8th, 2017, Wu Yongning fell while doing pull-ups on the side of a 263-meter-tall skyscraper in the Hunan capital of Changsha. The 26-year-old had become famous online by performing increasingly dangerous stunts without any safety gear and posting videos of the feats online, particularly favoring a popular app called Huajiao.
By the time of his death, he had more than 1 million subscribers, earning money through tips left by viewers and through sponsorship deals. His stunt atop the 62-story Huayuan Center Tower were part of a challenge that would pay him 100,000 yuan ($14,000); money that he reportedly planned to use to pay for his mom’s medical bills and to marry his girlfriend.
Wu’s mother sued Huajiao’s parent company, Beijing Mijinghefeng Technology Co., Ltd, arguing that the company had failed to warn her sons of the risks of what he was doing and did not properly review such extremely dangerous videos. She sought 60,000 yuan ($8,600) in compensation.
Huajiao denied any responsibility in Wu’s death.
However, on Tuesday, the Beijing Internet Court ruled that Huajiao was partially at fault, noting that while the company was not in position to control Wu’s dangerous activities, but that the platform did have some responsibility towards protecting their users’ safety and had failed to properly the risky content.
Furthermore, the court noted that Huajiao had directly profited from Wu’s dangerous stunts, receiving a percentage of his user donations and promoting his channel. In the end, Huajiao’s parent company was ordered to pay Wu’s mom 30,000 yuan ($4,300) in compensation.