“Inappropriate” Ukraine posts deleted from China’s leading social networks

Messaging apps on phone

As might be expected given the circumstances, there has been plenty of chatter across the key social media platforms in China about Russia’s attack on Ukraine – even if the Chinese government itself has continued to refrain from condemning the Kremlin or even calling the Russian military operation an “invasion”.

Indeed, as reported by TechCrunch, the last few days have seen Ukraine-related subjects rank highly among the trending hashtags on China’s equivalent of Twitter, Weibo. The company announced over the weekend, however, that it had removed more than 4,000 posts from its platform, on the basis of them having “provoked war, made fun of the war, or spread vulgar content”.

The Chinese version of TikTok – Douyin – took similar action, deleting more than 3,500 videos that had contained “vulgarity, content that trivialized the war, incendiary information, and unfriendly comments.”

One curious trend to emerge on Weibo in the days since the invasion commenced was what TechCrunch described as “scores of posts” urging “Ukraine’s beautiful women” to go to China. Meanwhile, on Douyin, there were apparently hundreds of clickbait posts claiming that typing in “Ukraine” would prompt “explosive effects” on the app.

Amid all this chaos and weirdness, however, it’s worth noting that some users on the popular platforms also called for greater empathy to be shown to those suffering in the conflict.

As set out in a statement by WeChat, the multipurpose instant messaging, social media and mobile payment app: “Peace doesn’t come easy. We need to respect and value life. We are calling on all online users to keep an objective and rational attitude toward hot-button global issues, be reasonable when participating in discussions, and together preserve a clean and bright cyber environment.”

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