Say hello to Your Highness Qiao Biluo.
No, me neither. However, there are plenty of people who know who this lady is, or rather, thought they knew who she was.
The BBC reported that, fans of a popular Chinese video blogger who called herself “Your Highness Qiao Biluo” have been left stunned after a technical glitch during one of her live-streams revealed her to be a middle-aged woman and not the young glamorous girl they thought her to be.
I have explained many times how social media has become a hunting ground for our kind and its multiplicity of platforms and applications now allow tens of millions of people to show the world either who they are, a version of who they are or something completely different. From the application of filters, Photoshop, cropped pictures, the duck-pout, the bathroom selfie, the nudes and so forth, many people have utilised social media to garner attention and alter the portrayal of who they are. Is this just framing yourself in the best light or the behaviour of narcissists?
Her Not So Highness Now was a video blogger on the popular Douyu platform. There she posed as an attractive, young Chinese lady and had a follower account of over 100 000 people. She would perform live streams and engage with the audience which comprised of a large number of young men, evidently drawn by her attractiveness and also apparently her pleasant, healing voice.
The blogger, is believed to have used a filter on her face during her appearances, and had been renowned for her “sweet and healing voice”. It is not know whether her “sweet and healing voice” was also manufactured.
China’s Global Times said she had been “worshipped” as a “cute goddess” by some members of her loyal audience with some fans even giving her more than 100,000 yuan ($14,533, £11,950).
Live-streaming platform Lychee News says the incident happened on 25 July, during a joint live-stream with another user, Qingzi on the Douyu platform.
The Global Times reports that all was as normal and that her fans urged her to show her face and remove her filter but she refused, instead apparently saying: “I can’t show my face until I receive gifts worth 100,000 yuan ($11,950). After all, I’m a good-looking host.” Whether she actually intended to reveal herself once this total was reached is unknown and given what she was doing and furthermore her conduct following the exposure it calls into question whether she ever intended to make good on her promise to reveal herself on the basis of the receipt of monetary gain.
Followers incentivised by her apparent declaration of showing herself, then began to send her donations with the largest reported to be 40,000 yuan ($5,813, £4,780) during the session.
However, at some point, and prior to reaching the total she had set, it seems the filter being used by the vlogger stopped working and her real face became visible to her viewers.
She is reported to have noticed only when people who had signed up to her VIP access room started exiting en masse.
Many of her original followers – especially men – are said to have stopped following her and withdrawn their transactions after seeing her true identity.
Most commentators said her followers were gullible, superficial and deserved to be “tricked” into parting with their cash gifts without first verifying her identity.
Qiao Biluo has since suspended her platform according to Weibo users, who are debating the impact of what happened.
Some users are saying it’s good riddance to her for conning people out of their money. But others question the IQ of the men throwing money at her.
The story has been incredibly popular across Chinese social networks with more than 600 million people reading posts that use a hashtag which translates to “female vlogger experiences bug showing her old lady face” and more than 50,000 using the hashtag itself.
China has more than 425 million live-streamers and the use of face filters is something that is common across the myriad of social platforms.
Live-streamers are discouraged from broadcasting in a public sphere, and are extremely restricted on what they can say. Expressing their opinions could result in a backlash from the authorities if the content is deemed to be politically sensitive or against government rhetoric. They also have to be careful that they are not seen to be “vulgar”.
Consequently, many live-streamers simply sing karaoke in their bedrooms, or eat snacks for hours on end.
And the highly lucrative industry is saturated by young female users, who will go to extreme lengths to stand out.
In another twist, the attention the story has attracted means that although Qiao Biluo stopped live-streaming after the incident, her Douyu profile page now has 650,000 followers. Perhaps she will upgrade from Your Highness to Your Majesty?
But what is Qiao Biluo? Is she just someone who wanted to remain anonymous and saw an opportunity to make money through vlogging or is she a narcissist whose behaviour with regard to obtaining money from her viewers backfired owing to a technical glitch? Is she an entitled individual who lacks empathy for her audience by conning them in such a way, or is she just someone normal who has seen an opportunity to make some money and really it is the gullible viewers who should have been far more judicious before parting with their money and receiving nothing of substance in return? Do they deserve to be conned, is she callous and manipulative or just somebody following the crowd and has made a mistake?
What do you think? Can you put your honed powers of narc detection to the test and identify the hallmarks of entitlement, lack of emotional empathy, lack of accountability, manipulative behaviour and grandiosity, amongst others with regard to this individual or do you find her to be something else? Was she just having some fun and it backfired? Was she actually providing entertainment and the risk lay with the viewers and they should have been more careful in taking her at, literally, face value.
You may vote below and expand on your thoughts, observations and arguments in the comment section.