Weibo to ban gay, violent content from platform

Elias Hubbard
April 16, 2018

Others called on the company to restore content that it had already deleted in the campaign, including a popular Weibo account called the Gay Voice, which published cultural news and podcasts for its more than 230,000 followers.

In the days after Weibo announced on Friday that it would purge violent, lewd, and gay-related content from its platform, Chinese social media was flooded with rainbow emojis and hashtags like #IAmGay and #ImAFriendToGays.

"The problem with the policy is that it equates LGBT content with porn", Xiao said on Sunday, adding that she believes the government is not actively anti-gay, just that it has no clear idea how to deal with the issue.

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

The company previously said that it was acting in accordance with China's cybersecurity laws.

Regulators have been ratcheting up control over Chinese microblogs in recent months, ordering operators like Weibo to set up a mechanism to remove false information after criticizing it for allowing prohibited material to spread.

Sina said the campaign was to ensure that the company was in line with online content regulations released in June past year that lump homosexuality in with sexual abuse and violence as constituting "abnormal sexual relationships".

The outcry reflects a fear that growing censorship tends to ban all gay content as "dirty", a setback for efforts to carve out an online space of tolerance for homosexuality in China's traditionally Confucian society, LGBTQI+ advocates say.

"There can be no homosexuality under socialism?" a Weibo user wrote, according to AFP.

What is China's stance on LGBT rights?

Hua said a Weibo manager told him to stop posting while the "cleanup" was to take place.

"Like China, which has developed so quickly in such a short time, sex education in the country is a work in progress", he said.

Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#. While the marathon was planned months in advance, the organizer, Lucas Chen, said Weibo's announcement gave it "added significance". "So it was meaningful that people online were also bravely speaking out and showing that they were not defeated by negativity". Hundreds of people participated in a pride run event in Nanjing on Saturday (April 14), a day after Weibo's announcement of the ban-a public display of activism that is becoming nearly extinct in China. The new laws, introduced in June past year, lump homosexuality in with sexual abuse and violence as constituting "abnormal sexual relationships".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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