Feeds

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

China's largest microblog service has two licenses revoked

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Sina, the company that owns China’s über-popular Twitter-like service Weibo, has had two key licences withdrawn by Beijing in retaliation for allegedly allowing the publication of articles and videos containing pornographic content.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

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.