Software identifies censored China microblog posts

Jun 28, 2012
A woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo at a cafe in Beijing in April 2012. Hong Kong researchers have developed software able to identify censored posts on China's main microblog Sina Weibo, they said Thursday.

Hong Kong researchers have developed software able to identify censored posts on China's main microblog, they said Thursday.

Called "WeiboScope", the program developed as a project at the University of Hong Kong is able to detect politically sensitive posts deleted by Chinese censors on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of .

Beijing regularly blocks under a vast online censorship system known as the Great Firewall of China, but the growing popularity of microblogs such as Sina Weibo has posed the authorities a new challenge.

The Hong Kong program helps researchers "look at the (microblogging) impact on ", lead researcher and journalism professor Fu King-wa told AFP.

The study showed posts including names such as disgraced Chongqing Communist Party boss Bo Xilai and dissident Chen Guangcheng, who left China for the US in May after fleeing , had been frequently deleted in the past few months.

Fu said the program can currently only show a "small snapshot of the whole universe of Sina Weibo", since it is only tracking 300,000 users who have more than 1,000 followers out of 300 million Weibo users.

The program downloads the posts of these users throughout the day and identifies censored items by comparing the profile from time to time. Posts censored by the authorities will show up with a "permission denied" message.

Fu expressed hope that the program would soon cover more of Weibo's user base.

Chinese authorities announced plans earlier this month to tighten control of microblogs, including making their users register with their .

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China's main microblog restricts user posts

May 29, 2012

China's best-known microblogging site has introduced new terms and conditions punishing those who post comments deemed offensive, as it comes under government pressure to clamp down on bloggers.

China extends microblog rules to south: report

Dec 22, 2011

China is extending rules requiring microblog users to register under their real names to Guangdong, state media said Thursday, after a spate of violent protests in the southern province.

China shuts 'rumour' blogs in Internet crackdown

Apr 25, 2012

One of China's most popular microblogging services has shut several accounts for spreading "malicious" rumours, as Beijing tightens control over the Internet after the ouster of a top leader.

Beijing orders microbloggers to register real names

Dec 16, 2011

Beijing city authorities on Friday issued new rules requiring microbloggers to register their real names before posting online, as the Chinese government tightens its grip on the Internet.

Radiohead ventures into Chinese social media

Jul 03, 2011

(AP) -- Radiohead has taken a tentative step into censored Chinese cyberspace, even though the British rock band has been critical of China's human rights record.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

13 hours ago

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

16 hours ago

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

18 hours ago

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

frajo
not rated yet Jun 28, 2012
A German friend of mine neglected to patent this idea in 1999 when he applied exactly the same method by saving the anti-war posts many of which have been censored a few minutes later by the belligerent leadership of the German Green party.
See rolofs.net/logik&moral/ginhalt.html .

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.