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To Avoid Controversy, 'Realtime' Microblogging In China Now Delayed By 7 Days

from the not-so-realtime dept

Despite increasing competition around the world, China remains the leader when it comes to finding ways to censor the online world. A few months ago, the site Tech in Asia listed no less than eight ways in which users of Sina Weibo, China's hugely-popular homegrown microblog service, can be penalized for "inappropriate" tweets. Now it seems it has come up with a ninth:

Users of Sina Weibo that mention things somewhat more controversial than cats or food might find their posts being delayed -- by seven whole days. The Twitter-like Sina Weibo is supposed to be a real-time social platform, but that no longer applies to posts that mention 'sensitive' terms such as the names of China's top leaders.
That's a worrying escalation, since it makes tweeting even uncontroversial stuff about contemporary politics, say, pretty pointless: who wants to read what somebody thought a week ago? If the Chinese authorities decided to increase their control of online postings even more, an obvious way would be to encourage all user-generated services to adopt this system. Pity that would pretty much be the death of real-time social media in China.

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Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 9:38am

    It would take less time to mail a letter across China than to use a Weibo at this point. I guess the Arab spring really scared them to the point of stupidity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    How long...

    Until the copyright apologists point to China and say that this method is how you stop piracy and that the U.S. Government should do the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    In other news China have approved tighter rules on Internet access in a move that the US and UK governments have wet dreams about doing.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20857480

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Michael, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    I can't believe that is actually true. They have to open, read, and re-seal every letter sent. That must take a great deal of time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: How long...

    3

    2

    1

    ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:15am

    China

    You have to have a little respect for a country that doesn't seem to be hiding it. Here, the NSA is capturing (probably) all of our email, tracking who all of our phone calls are going to and from, and then saying it violates our privacy to tell us how much spying they have done on us.

    China is just saying "Hey, we spy on our people. If you don't like it...well, there isn't anything you can do if you don't like it, so shut the hell up and finish building that iPad."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Michael, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Protest

    7 days from now, you are going to find a lot of angry tweets on Weibo.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:29am

    Re: Protest

    No you won't. Any complaints about the process will simply never be published.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    so much for the new leader, or so i read, going to be more open, going to try to drag China more towards the Western world and try to be more open, less repressive and more responsive over 'human rights issues' than the 'old guard'. seems like that went well and lasted next to no time at all. guy might just as well have kept his mouth shut. also looks like he took about as much notice of Obama and other visiting leaders (Cameron?) as N.Korea and Iran, not that i expected him to

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    I was half asleep when I read this the first time. I had to re-read it because I had honestly thought this article said that to avoid copyright issues, people in the USA could not blog in real-time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    RonKaminsky (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 10:49am

    So passe

    When is the Chinese government going to figure out that release windows are, like, so old school?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 11:08am

    The 80% piracy rate in China is what happens when tons of people get around the Great Firewall, and it just goes to show that the people of the country hate internet restrictions just as much as those who protest against SOPA laws. Trying to stop piracy, or any communication freedom, increases piracy and drives communication underground.

    My theory is that as long as proxies exist, national Firewalls are useless. The Chinese no doubt know how to route around the Great Firewall with international proxies, and not even the Chinese government can constantly track down everything. There's TOR, VPNs, simple under-the-radar exchanging of USBs, BitTorrents, the list goes on. There may even be hope for an emerging underground resistance in North Korea because of this stuff.

    However, in theory... if every government in the world were to have a Great Firewall, proxies and VPNs would lose a great deal of power (one of them has to eventually access the site...).

    Considering this, SOPA was extremely, inexcusably dangerous. The copyright lobbyists are a very serious threat indeed, as well as copyright law itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Dec 28th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Every time I inch closer to despising the insanity of U.S. governmental politics, infringement of constitutional freedom, and over-zealousness by law enforcement here, a story like this comes along and reminds me of both how much better off we are here and how important it is to ensure the insanity in this country isn't able to escalate to the point of no return...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    The Real Michael, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re: How long...

    Funny thing is, much of the content industries' efforts to regulate the internet and shut down competition without due process (i.e. The Promo Bay) are somewhat communist in nature. American corporatism and Chinese communism have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2012 @ 3:55pm

    Footbullet?

    You know, the point of these China-only services is that they are easier to control.

    But by making these services worse, they will be pushing people away from them... Back to the "free world" originals they were cloned from. In this case, Twitter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Androgynous Cowherd, Dec 29th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    If the Chinese authorities decided to increase their control of online postings even more, an obvious way would be to encourage all user-generated services to adopt this system. Pity that would pretty much be the death of real-time social media in China


    Pfft. Hardly. People will just get inventive at slightly obfuscating whatever keywords trigger the delay. That will cause some fragmentation when it hits hashtags, but it will be far preferred to accepting the delay. To avoid this they'd have to delay *everything* which would be prohibitively labor-intensive.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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