By Michael Ardaiolo
Photo by ChinaZ.com
Tech in Asia is reporting that Sina recently launched a new microblogging platform only to have it immediately shut down. The platform, called Weibo Expose, allows users to submit news tips and pictures corresponding to their physical location. More telling, it also features the Holy Grail of Chinese Internet functions: the anonymous submission.
Weibo Expose (微博爆料) – or as Google Translate is calling it, “Weibo Broke the News” – launched yesterday. As one would expect, news of the platform spread through the tech site news cycle. Today, following the link to the website dead-ends at a blank white screen. Even more troubling, the news reports posted yesterday all return 404 errors. Tech in Asia was only able to find a few sites off the beaten path that have yet to be neuralyzed.
The censoring of the web in China is, sadly, not big news anymore. In which case, the most curious aspect of this debacle is that Sina teamed up with seventy other media organizations across the country to support this platform. If it was destined to be shut down – if that is indeed what is happening – how did it escape the notice of the forces that be for long enough to be launched? It should also be noted that Sina is currently under rather close scrutiny for recent rumor-spreading.
Perhaps the first whistle blown on this potentially powerful whistle-blowing tool was on itself.