China is cracking down on ASMR (or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos online, which it describes as "vulgar and pornographic," The Verge has revealed. China’s anti-pornography office announced earlier this month that websites must "clean up" online streaming services and law enforcement agencies need to punish offenders.

“A large part of ASMR audiences is young people,” its statement reads. “All internet companies must genuinely fulfill their duties, and increase efforts to clean up websites, implement content review processes, and protect minors from harmful content.”

Interest in the ASMR community has grown in recent years. ASMR videos include heightened sounds of whispering, tapping, or eating with the intention of calming and relaxing the listener, and can include sexual references or content. In April this year, Highsnobiety reported that some listeners actively sought online companionship through the ASMR community.

However, a 2015 research paper and study suggests that sexual ASMR content is desired by relatively few users. Among study participants, 82 percent agreed with the statement that they used ASMR as a sleep aid while only 5 percent said they used ASMR for sexual stimulation. Seventy percent of participants used ASMR for stress relief.

Streaming services such as Youku, Bilibili, and Douyu have removed ASMR all content from their platforms since the anti-pornography office issued its new guidelines.

Get the full story over at The Verge.

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