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Chinese Social Media Platform Sina Weibo Scraps Plans for ‘Gay Content Ban’ Following Severe Backlash

Img: Jon Russell 

Last Friday, Chinese social media giant Sina Weibo announced their latest campaign intended to curtail the proliferation of pornographic and violent material on their platform – an admirable goal, you might say, but Sina Weibo managed to incite outrage in the process.

The problem was that as part of the campaign, the company intended to censor and/or remove content such as cartoons and video games with ‘gay themes’. The backlash was immediate and substantial.

Hashtags like #Iamgaynotapervert and slogans such as “Gays aren’t scary” began to flood the platform as users struck back against these dated and damaging ideals, accusing the company of promoting discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in China. The company were soon forced to take notice and bow to the wishes of their user base.

In a new statement issued Monday, Sina Weibo stated that they will be omitting ‘gay’ material from their list of offending content, focusing their clean-up efforts instead on “pornographic, violent and bloody content”. They also thanked users for what they downplayed as their “discussion and suggestions”.

While cartoons and video games seem to be safe for now, the company did not actually state whether or not they would continue to delete texts, photos and videos containing ‘gay themes’, which were also included in Friday’s original announcement. On the whole however the platform’s users seem to be welcoming of the change of heart; though some, such as Shanghai-based feminist/activist Bai Fei, feel the company still needs to offer more of an apology.

Bai Fei told the NY Times, “It is totally insincere. They have already harmed us. I want them to stand up and make a public apology.”

Others still are seeing the silver lining of this situation. One such person is Ma Baoli, the founder of Blued, a popular gay dating app in China. He calls the announcement and resulting backlash a “historic event”, one that shows signs of positive changes in the works.

“This is a nice outcome and a very valuable chance for the public to discuss homosexuality and to eliminate discrimination,” said ma Baoli.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Chinese Social Media Platform Sina Weibo Scraps Plans for ‘Gay Content Ban’ Following Severe Backlash Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, April 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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