China's Weibo site backtracks on gay censorship after outcry

phys.org | 4/17/2018 | Staff
jenn1020 (Posted by) Level 3
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One of China's top social networking sites announced Monday that it will no longer be censoring content related to gay issues after the plan triggered a loud public outcry.

Weibo.com was flooded over the weekend with the hashtags "#I'mGay" and "#I'mGayNotaPervert" after the Twitter-like platform said that cartoons and short videos with pornographic, violent or gay subject matter would be investigated over a three-month period.

Microblogging - Site - Nasdaq - Shares - Friday

The microblogging site, which saw its Nasdaq shares fall on Friday, said in its amended post: "This clean-up of games and cartoons will no longer target gay content." A company spokesman refused to clarify how the platform would treat short videos with gay content.

The investigation will instead "primarily focus on pornographic and violent material," Weibo's statement said. "Thank you everyone for your discussions and suggestions."

Company - Accordance - China - Cybersecurity - Laws

The company previously said that it was acting in accordance with China's cybersecurity laws. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's internet regulator, did not immediately comment.

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. It was the latest of new measures imposed by President Xi Jinping's government to tighten control over what China's public can see and say online while still trying to reap the economic benefits of internet use.

Homosexuality - China - Chinese - Objections - Preference

While homosexuality is not illegal in China and few Chinese have religious objections to it, a traditional, conservative preference for conventional marriage and childbearing creates barriers for LGBT people.

Following Weibo's initial announcement Friday, more than a million users have viewed hashtags in support of LGBT rights, with many sharing their own experiences as an LGBT person or a parent of one.

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