A massive outcry from China’s internet users has forced Sina Weibo, the country’s biggest micro blogging site, to withdraw its plans on removing gay-themed content from its platform. Weibo which has around 350 million monthly users in China has on Friday announced an online clean-up campaign in which it planned to target content related to pornography, violence and and homosexuality. Weibo had claimed that it was doing so to “create a bright and harmonious community environment.”
The move had however caused an uproar amongst the platform users who saw it as discrimination against homosexuals. Since Friday people had been protesting by using hashtags like #Iamgaynotapervert. Faced with a massive backlash Weibo on Monday decided to cancel its plan.
”This time, the cleanup of anime and games won’t target gay content. It is mainly [meant] to clean up content related to pornography, violence, and gore. Thank you for your discussions and suggestions.” Weibo said on its website.
Under president Xi Jinping there has been a growing attempt in the country to regulate the internet. Last year China had brought in a cybersecurity law that gave the state more power to punish and investigate companies that publish content the government labels unsafe or offensive.
Last week the Chinese government has ordered the closure of Neihan Duanzi, a parody platform in which user generated content was shared. The app was said to have a around 200 million users and was shut down for what the government claimed as vulgar content.Its closure had also led to protests and its users had taken to honking their horns in unison at traffic intersections as a sign of protest.In 2017 according to the State News Agency Xinhua, China shut as many as 128,000 websites that contained obscene and other “harmful” information.