For the past four years, China’s government and its far-reaching
bureaucracy have embarked on a campaign to take back China’s
weibo microblog scene from the masses, who have been using
social media services to expose corrupt officials, circulate news,
and air their opinions.
And it’s working. According to a new study by media researchers
based in China and the US, the government’s 176,000 microblogs are
trying to control much of the discussion online, by offering
official interpretations of public events, while contrary views
are ruthlessly deleted by Great Firewall censors.
In the latest government maneuver, China released new restrictive
regulations today seemingly aimed at Tencent’s popular WeChat chat
service, which has also become a de facto town square where
current events are discussed. According to the People’s Daily,
only the public accounts of media agencies can post or re-post
political news on instant messaging apps like WeChat. New users
will also have to provide their real names and sign a contract
promising they will “obey the law and respect the socialist
We in the U.S. are fortunate that our most popular social media site has a completely transparent and open system for what people see in their news feeds. Wait, what.