Sina Weibo Shutdown Unlikely

At Digicha, Bill Bishop explains Chinese tech blogger ’s recent comments on why, although has been subject to various restrictions in recent weeks, the government is unlikely to pull the plug completely:

Keso, whose real name is Hong Bo 洪波, writes that greatest risk to Sina Weibo was in its first year as media coverage hyped the idea of a “Twitter Revolution” in Iran, leading some in the government to believe Twitter et al were tools that would be used bring them down. But as more and more government departments use Weibo, and as Sina shows it can strictly control the content, the government now believes that:

  1. 1) People need an outlet for their views and emotions, and a visible one is safer than an invisible one;

  2. 2) Sina Weibo is controlled by people the government trusts, and the risks from shutting Weibo are greater than the risks from not shutting it;

  3. 3) The government can use Weibo to its advantage. (See China Media Project-China’s Leaders Embrace Social Media.)

Previously on CDT: a profile of Sina Weibo by Forbes’ Gady Epstein, netizen reactions to claims by Sina’s deputy director that the service stood a “0%” chance of being silenced, and explanations of Chinese social media including a slideshow on Sina Weibo from Bill Bishop.

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