China's Weibo has banned social-media accounts for posting 'vulgar' content about the invasion of Ukraine

Business Insider US
China's Twitter-like platform Weibo says it has banned more than 10,000 accounts.
  • Weibo and Douyin banned accounts and censored posts that mocked the crisis in Ukraine.
  • In addition to misinformation, some users had posted "inappropriate" jokes, about Ukrainian women.
  • Weibo appealed to users to be "objective and rational" when discussing international news.
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China's social-media platforms have deleted posts and banned thousands of accounts following a flood of "vulgar" content online mocking the invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, Twitter-like service Weibo said it had banned 10,000 accounts and removed more than 4,000 posts that "ridiculed war" and mocked the situation in Ukraine. Besides misinformation, Weibo said offending posts include "vulgar content" related to jokes about Ukrainian women

"The platform continues to investigate and deal with inappropriate and unfriendly remarks related to 'Ukrainian beauties', which promote hatred and sexism," Weibo said in a separate post a day earlier.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began on Thursday, Chinese internet users have gone online to weigh in on the subject.

Amid the discussions, crude jokes about taking in fleeing Ukrainian women began circulating. The hashtag "willing to shelter 18- to 24-year-old Ukrainian girls" was trending on Weibo before it was censored on Friday, per Nikkei Asia. Such posts sparked widespread anger among other users online, the outlet reported.

In its Sunday post, Weibo appealed for users to remain "objective and rational," and to participate in discussions "reasonably" when discussing international news.

Douyin, China's version of TikTok, also removed videos and banned accounts as it cracked down on "inappropriate" content related to Ukraine. 

"Some users have taken advantage of trending events, improperly stoking the fire," Douyin said on Saturday. "In particular, they have treated pain points as laughing points, publishing videos such as 'capturing Ukrainian beauties,' spreading inappropriate values and destroying the atmosphere of the platform." 

The platform has since removed more than 6,400 videos and interrupted 1,620 live broadcasts, it said on Saturday. 

The Chinese embassy in Ukraine called for calm in an open letter to Chinese citizens.

"The Ukrainians are going through difficulties and discomfort," it said on its WeChat account on Sunday. "We need to understand them and not provoke them."

On Sunday, the White House called on China to condemn Russia and Putin, per Reuters. To date, Beijing has refused to call Russia's attack on Ukraine an "invasion."

The Chinese government has been making efforts to "clean up" social media platforms and maintain public order online, pushing content platforms to more closely watch their users. On September, 14 Chinese online content platforms, including Weibo and Douyin, signed a collective declaration to enforce "self-discipline" in the country's cyberspace.

Earlier this month, Weibo banned accounts and deleted posts following targeted online attacks of Olympians at the Winter Games.

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