Hololive Stops Accepting Presents Due to Smart Tag Abuse

Hololive Production announced on Twitter that it will stop accepting gifts directly addressed to its personalities at the end of August 2021.

This comes after discussions between the talents and other internal groups at Hololive who talked about the impact of privacy invasion. The announcement explains that there are privacy and security issues around gifts and objects from loss prevention tags.

What is a Loss Prevention Tag?

Loss prevention tags are those plastic clips you see on clothing. Retailers use these tags to help track items and deliveries as well as to prevent shoplifting. In recent years, tech brands like Samsung and Apple have created loss prevention tags with Bluetooth technology. Samsung and Apple have created the SmartTag and AirTag respectively to allow consumers to take advantage of the technology; however, there are been some unfortunate consequences.

These high-tech tags send out a signal that can be tracked by an owner’s smartphone. Their primary usage is meant for people to keep track of valuable packages so they don’t get lost; however, consumers are concerned that these tags are enabling stalking.

Stalking Talent

Reporters in the past have shown just how easy it is to stalk someone with an Apple AirTag and this is a huge concern for VTubers. There are numerous stories of content creators and personalities being stalked by mentally unstable fans. In 2019, a Japanese man was accused of stalking and sexually assaulting an idol after he discovered her location by looking at the reflection in her eyes in a picture.

Hololive has dealt with stalking incidents before as member Yozora Mel became the victim of harassment by someone she knew and interacted with before. For fear of her safety, Mel took a break from VTubing while the harassment was dealt with.

Mel has since come back and streams on a frequent basis.

Which Gifts Will Continue to be Accepted?

Fans of Hololive VTubers can still send gifts but only certain kinds. Fan letters, message cards, and illustrations are still accepted. Packaged items, however, must follow certain guidelines. Packaged items must come from an e-commerce website like Amazon and Rakuten. Fans can no longer create their own packages and send them to the talents anymore for fear of those loss prevention tags transmitting someone’s location.

See Also

However, if a fan really wants to send something homemade like a doujinshi (which is a fan-made comic book), they must contact Hololive HQ first and ask if it’s fine to send the handmade gift or they will throw it away without opening it. Other forbidden items include used items, gifts exceeding ¥30,000 (around $300), cosmetics, clothing, religious or political items, and anything that violates public morals according to the rule list.

Back in June, fellow VTuber agency LiverCity (as in someone who goes ‘Live’, not the organ) announced it no longer accepts gifts to talents in the company for the same reason: the smart tags.

This is pure speculation on my part, but judging from what happened to Mel and LiverCity in June, I wouldn’t be surprised if additional undisclosed stalking incidents occurred but Hololive has kept everything under wraps.

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