Weibo, China‘s leading microblogging platform, is urging its users to refrain from badmouthing the economy, account holders have said.
The apparently automated notices, first reported by Bloomberg on December 15, arrived in the inboxes of netizens who commented about the state of the Chinese economy, which has been in flux since the country embarked on its post-pandemic recovery one year ago.
It was unclear whether the soft censorship had resulted in any shadow bans or outright suspensions of Weibo accounts, but it highlighted growing apprehension about whether China was likely ever to witness again the type of explosive growth it had enjoyed for decades, and which eventually propelled it to the world's No. 2 economy in 2010.
Weibo is often likened to its Western counterparts like Facebook or X for its influential role in shaping China's social media landscape, but it has always existed in a strictly regulated online environment overseen by the country's cyber watchdog and large censorship apparatus.