BEIJING (Reuters) - Online quiz shows that have surged in popularity in China must not promote extravagance or sensationalism and should instead spread healthy, beneficial knowledge, the country's media and publication regulator said in a notice.
Up to 6 million people at a time log into the free, live games on their smartphones to answer a series of rapid-fire questions in an elimination battle, with those remaining sharing the prize money.
The trivia games have drawn some controversy, heightened by a broader crackdown on online content during the past year under President Xi Jinping, from livestreams and blogs to a campaign against internet addiction.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a notice released late on Wednesday the content of some of the quizzes were little more than click-bait, with "vulgar and tawdry" content.
These platforms could not promote "mammonism, extravagance, or sensationalism", nor could they feature excessive marketing during shows, the regulator said.
Instead, they needed to encourage healthy, beneficial knowledge that promoted core socialist values, it said.
Both the platform and its anchors must have proper qualifications and be morally upstanding, the notice said.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Paul Tait)