After Outcry, Weibo Does U-Turn on Gay Content Ban
After Outcry, Weibo Does U-Turn on Gay Content Ban
Weibo says the three-month campaign will target ‘illegal’ gay and violent content
17 April, 2018, 10:36
The latest move to "clean-up" what is posted online in Weibo comes at a time when Facebook - the world's largest social media company - has been facing flak for leaking user data to private firms.
China's answer to Twitter, Sina Weibo, today (April 16) withdrew its short-lived ban on homosexual content, after people came out as gay to protest the ban.
This post was syndicated from The Herald Nigeria Newspaper. Last summer, for example, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television (SAPPRFT) sent a notice to online literature platforms that they would be judged based on how well their content promotes "the core values of socialism".
Images of hearts and rainbows with slogans "I am a gay, not a pervert" flooded the streets of China as several people protested against popular online website Weibo for removing all such content from its platform which is deemed to be violent or promoting homosexuality.
On Saturday, "The Gay Voice", a Weibo account with some 230,000 followers, announced that it would suspend operations. Successfully sending a message like that is worth a bit of unexpectedly strong resistance from China's gay community to the speech police in Beijing.
Homosexuality is not illegal in China, but activists say the conservative attitudes of some parts of society have prompted occasional government clampdowns. "Seven years ago, not that many people were willing to make their voices heard this way".
Hua said a Weibo manager told him to stop posting while the "cleanup" was to take place.
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Weibo posted a statement on its website, responding to the about-face: "We thank all for your discussions and suggestions". "It's unbelievable to see this happen now, with everyone - straight or gay, celebrities or ordinary people - using the hashtag and joining in".
Others cited the Chinese Constitution and its protection of minorities, saying that insult towards citizens is prohibited.
The Twitter-like site Weibo.com provoked outrage when it said it would investigate cartoons and videos with "gay subject matter".
News source The People's Daily, which is run directly by the ruling Communist Party, released an article on Sunday chastising Weibo for its decision to ban gay content.
Weibo's initial announcement received hundreds of thousands of comments and shares, with the majority criticising the decision to clamp down on gay content.
The Beijing L.G.B.T. Center said in a post, "We are all gay tonight", alongside photographs of young men and women.
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