Sina Weibo Gets Slapped by the Government; Shares Drop

Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, got slapped by the government for broadcasting “vulgar and harmful content."

CapitalWatch Staff
    Jan 29, 2018 4:55 PM  PT
Sina Weibo Gets Slapped by the Government; Shares Drop
author: CapitalWatch Staff   

Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform, got slapped by the government for broadcasting "vulgar and harmful content." 

"Content of wrong public opinion orientation, obscenity and ethnic discrimination continued to spread on Sina Weibo," the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement over the weekend. "Sina Weibo has violated the country's laws and regulations, led online public opinions to wrong direction and left a very bad influence."

The regulators summoned the person in charge of Weibo on Saturday and ordered the company to temporarily suspend several sections on the platform, according to the government's official news outlet, Xinhua News. The name of the official was not disclosed. 

In response, Weibo immediately released on announcement on Sunday saying that it accepted the criticism and was suspending key portals, such as its hot search site and its portal on celebrities news, for a week.

"Some companies and figures in the entertainment industry have manipulated their rankings, and related to this, a black market has been created," Weibo said in the statement. 

This action came as the government's attempt to promote what it regards as "educational" content on the internet, rather than superficial celebrity scandels and rumors. 

Many Chinese celebrities have been banned from appearing in Weibo's "hot searches" rankings, including Sicong Wang, the son of billionaire Dalian Wanda Chairman Jianlin Wang. Sicong Wang, whose nickname is "the people's husband," has more than 25 million followers. He has been given a three-month ban from its "hot searches" list.

Beijing's internet regulator has stressed on multiple occasions about the importance of building a "clean" cyberspace. Thus, this clampdown on the Chinese Twitter-like social media Weibo is part of the China's year-long internet cleanup campaign. Just a month ago, regulators in Beijing ordered to overhaul China's most popular news app, Jinri Toutiao, for more than a day, citing reasons such as breaching regulations and spreading "pornographic and vulgar content."

Shares of Weibo Corp. (Nasdaq: WB) and Sina Corp. (Nasdaq: SINA) both dropped in New York trading today nearly 3 percent to $132.14 and $118.98 per share, respectively. 


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