China’s largest social media platforms said they have deleted tens of thousands of posts for abusing athletes and spreading rumours around the Winter Olympics, in an effort to clean-up “illegal” chatter.
Chinese authorities stringently censor any content that they believe violates “core socialist values” and in recent months have ordered its tech companies to further crack down on online rumours or what could be considered vulgar.
The Weibo social media platform, China’s equivalent of Twitter, has taken action against about 2,300 user accounts and deleted more than 73,000 posts that were offensive to athletes or “illegal”.
Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of short video app TikTok, said on Wednesday it had intercepted or cleaned up 6,780 related videos or comments and banned 331 user accounts.
Other platforms such as social networking forum Douban and video sharing site Bilibili also put out similar statements on their efforts.
While Chinese netizens have heaped praise on athletes such as Eileen Gu and Su Yiming, criticism has been aimed at Zhu Yi, the figure skater who reportedly gave up US citizenship in 2018 to compete for China after she fell during her events.
“There are always winners and losers in competitive sports, but anyone who fights for it is a true hero. This platform urges everyone not to sarcastically attack athletes because of accidental mistakes,” Weibo said on Wednesday.
The platform said on Wednesday it deleted 41,473 posts and suspended 850 accounts over such behaviour. That compares to its report on Sunday, when it said it deleted 421 posts and suspended 93 accounts.
Earlier, Weibo sent messages to its users warning them against posting any content from the Beijing Winter Olympics that belonged to broadcast rights holders or risk being blocked.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell