Feeds

Beijing's anti-smut crackdown catches 'Chinese Twitter' Weibo red-handed

China's largest microblog service has two licenses revoked

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Sina, the company that owns China’s über-popular Twitter-like service Weibo, has had two key licences withdrawn by Beijing in retaliation for allegedly allowing the publication of articles and videos containing pornographic content.

A missive from the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications seen by Xinhua claimed that 20 articles and four videos posted to Sina.com had broken anti-porn laws and as a result the government had revoked the firm’s internet publishing and audio and video publishing licences.

The firm has been hit with a “large number of fines”, some staff have been detained and some local reports claim Sina has already shuttered its online book site for the time being.

The statement apparently said Sina had not learned its lesson after being punished twice last year for publishing banned content and was “turning a cold shoulder on social responsibility”.

“[The site] overstepped the red line of law... and it must be punished in accordance with laws and regulations," it added, according to Xinhua.

For its part, Sina has issued a grovelling apology, promising to “obey the punishment without passing the buck”.

The harsh treatment of one of China’s biggest internet companies is part of a renewed crackdown on "lewd" or pornographic content instigated by president Xi Jinping, and can be seen as a major warning to other big names to police content on their platforms more carefully.

Weibo – which boasts 600 million registered users, less than half of whom are active – recently filed for a $500m IPO in the US.

Unsurprisingly, the news of its punishment has hit parent company Sina’s stock price hard, with shares plummeting more than 7 per cent on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The firm not only has an increasing self-censorship burden to manage but is also losing the battle for hearts and minds, especially of younger Chinese, to newer services like WeChat (Weixin). ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.