Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Weibo, China's Twitter, Backtracks on Censorship of Gay Content After Online Outcry

Chinese flag with rainbow flag Weibo, China's Twitter, Backtracks on Censorship of Gay Content After Online Outcry
Melinda Barton | 16 April, 2018, 21:50

On Monday afternoon, Sina Weibo issued the second announcement, declaring "This time, the cleanup of anime and games won't target gay content", according to a translation by What's on Weibo.

The Friday, April 13, announcement that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) content would be purged from Sina Weibo proved short-lived.

On Friday Weibo said it would remove pornographic, violent or gay videos and cartoons in a three-month campaign, singling out a genre of manga animations and comics that often depict raunchy gay male relationships.

China's version of Twitter, Weibo, has reversed a ban on gay content after an outcry accused the company of smearing homosexuality by lumping it with pornography as it tried to meet government censorship rules. At the end of the article, he made his Weibo account public, and chose to come out as gay despite long fears of discrimination.

"We thank all for your discussions and suggestions", it said in a brief notice posted on its website.

Weibo's announcement, however, provoked a flood of stunned and angry responses from Chinese users.

The post Weibo China's Blogging Platform Bans Homosexual Content On Its Website appeared first on The Herald Nigeria Newspaper. Numerous dissenting posts complaining about the ban were themselves blocked by Weibo.

Weibo has so far cleared 56,243 pieces of content, shut 108 user accounts and removed 62 topics considered to have violated its standards, it added. "While they advocate for their rights, they also must bear their social responsibilities".

'We must pressure these companies and show them it's not easy to discriminate against an entire community - no matter who orders them to do it'.

Along with the hashtags, various images of rainbows were also uploaded to express support for the LGBT community.

The decision sparked unrest on the site, with users protesting by posting messages with the hashtag #IAmGay - which was trending within just a few hours.

"I am gay and I'm proud, even if I get taken down there are tens of millions like me!' said one poster, who used the handle 'rou wan xiong xiong xiong xiong" and posted a photo of himself.

China has banned homosexual content on social media platform Weibo and users are not taking it lying down.

The hashtag "I am gay" was viewed almost 300 million times on Weibo before being censored on Saturday. While homosexuality is legal and the Chinese government supposedly has a live and let live policy towards LGBTQ people, it would seem that's only the case if they do it privately in their own corners of the country.

"Seven years ago, not that many people were willing to make their voices heard this way", he said.