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Power of Sina Weibo - Essay Example

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Power of Sina Weibo

The Sina Weibo case in China is just one example of how popular social media celebrities exert influence on their followers and how this can have detrimental impact on the government in terms of policy changes. Charles Xue more commonly known by his Sina Weibo screen name Xue Manzi confessed to having made mistakes pertaining to his online posts on the social network (Zhai 2013, n.pag.). Xue confessed to his crimes as a micro blogger on Sina Weibo where he presumably spread rumors (Custer 2013, n.pag.). A charge was filed against Xue along with other micro bloggers. However, Xue has set himself apart and is acting as an example to admit to his blogging crimes thereby helping the government to regulate the internet. At first, this might seem quite trivial however the impact of social networks on a country’s interest and government policies cannot be undermined. According to Shirky, the internet and social media is a place of varied players including citizens, activists, NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations), telecom companies, software houses, governments, and so on (2011, 1). The presence of various actors on the internet and social media has raised concerns regarding its ability to influence a particular country’s interests and government policies. ...
However, his actions and confession sends out a completely opposite message to his millions of fans and followers and Xue now seems to be remorseful. He hopes to set an example by admitting his online crimes and helping the government to regulate the content on the internet. Much of the concern regarding the regulation of internet in particular social websites like Sina Weibo arises from the fact that pressure fuelled up by public opinion communicated over Weibo resulted in a change in government policy regarding air pollution. Also, the government was forced to start reporting the PM 2.5 levels in a timely manner (Custer 2013, n.pag.). Not only this, but public opinion regarding corrupt and inefficient government officials over Sina Weibo resulted in the removal of these officials from office. The spread of rumor online has caused the government to censor online content particularly on social websites like Sina Weibo. As of now, several posts and images have been removed and deleted from Sina Weibo website as a result of censorship (“China’s Memory Hole” 2013, n.pag.). Unlike the United States, the social media in China is highly decentralized which is why the responsibility of censorship falls under numerous internet service providers (King, Pan, and Roberts 2013, 1). Thus, the government has employed a method which fines or takes other actions against them is they fail to comply with the government requirements regarding censorship. This step, as King, Pan and Roberts explain, has been taken “to limit freedom of speech” and therefore restricts the expression of public opinion. The censorship efforts have been great even though China is not a top inhibitor of press freedom. Xue, who is considered to be a strong opinion leader ...Show more


Power, Spectacle, and Memory: The Impact of Social Media in China Chinese Social Media and the Government Instructor Name Power, Spectacle, and Memory: The Impact of Social Media in China Chinese Social Media and the Government Social media has become a powerful tool for organized and collective action…
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