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China’s Weibo fined for not censoring fast enough

Government censorship.
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Twitter-like Chinese social media platform Weibo was hit with a half-million-dollar fine by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The internet regulator did not specify the content that led to the fine.

Through 2021, the Chinese government has aggressively cracked down on tech companies. The intense crack down followed Alibaba CEO Jack Ma criticizing the government. He has disappeared from the public since.

Tech companies in China have been penalized for allowing “fun culture” to get out of control, anti-competitive practices, promoting excessive consumerism, allowing too much “vulgar” content on their platforms, and getting the youth addicted to video games.

This week, the CAC vaguely accused Weibo of hosting “information forbidden by law and regulations.” In other words, the platform did not adequately censor content.

The CAC did not specify what content led to the $471165 fine. The agency said that Weibo has been fined at least 44 times in 2021, with the fines totaling to about $2.25 million.

The South China Morning Post suggested that the “forbidden” information might have been about Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star that accuse a CCP official of sexual assault.

Peng accused the high-ranking CCP official of sexual assault through Weibo. The post was quickly deleted, but not before users took screenshots that were widely shared. Searches for Peng were blocked and her name was deleted from Chinese websites.

Weibo said that it had “sincerely accepted” it was in the wrong and vowed to “earnestly fulfill” the directives of the CAC, including cracking down on “malicious marketing.”

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