China punishes microblog platform Weibo for interfering with communication

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China’s internet regulator has ordered the Sina Weibo social media platform to disable some of its features for a week, rare punishment for what it said was interference with online communication, among other things.

KEY POINTS:

  • The Cyberspace Administration of China orders Weibo to disable some of its platforms features for a week
  • This is a rare wrist slap for Internet companies in China
  • Weibo will need to stop updating list showing ther topics being discussed on the platform for a week

Top internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China, said in a post on its verified WeChat Account it had reprimanded Weibo for “interfering with online communication order, disseminating illegal information and other problems”.

Weibo will need to stop updating its lists showing the most popular search terms and topics being discussed on the platform for a week from Wednesday, the CAC said, adding it had asked its Beijing branch to fine Weibo.

Weibo did not immediately respond when contacted by the news agency Reuters for comment.

The CAC said that the violations related to a case involving a person with the surname Jiang, without going into further details.

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It was not clear whose communications Weibo is being punished for interfering with but it comes after a senior Alibaba Group executive’s relationship with a prominent social media influencer came under scrutiny by Sina Weibo users in April, some of whom complained at the time that their posts were being censored.

The executive, Jiang Fan, was later demoted after an internal investigation.

Alibaba did not immediately reply when contacted by the news agency Reuters for comment.

The government heavily regulates its cyberspace and often scrubs content like violence, pornography, or political sensitive speeches from social media.

In 2018, Weibo temporarily took offline some of its portals like its hot search site and portal on celebrities and their personal lives after being reprimanded by the CAC for spreading what it said was obscene content.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘China punishes microblog platform Weibo for interfering with communication‘ article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Pei Li.

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