Weibo Removes Celebrity List After China Condemns ‘Irrational Fan’ Culture


A Chinese social media platform withdrew its list of popular celebrities after state media claimed children were being corrupted by those who capitalize on the entertainment industry.

Weibo, which is the Chinese version of Twitter, announced on Friday that it would compile its list of music and media stars ranked based on their number of subscribers and posts on the network.

He came after the state newspaper People’s Daily published an editorial criticizing platforms that prioritize their online traffic over the interests of young people, according to the Reuters news agency.

The newspaper said online platforms should “strictly monitor idol development programs and strengthen the management of talent show programs” by monitoring reviews, voting mechanisms and comments.

Although the editorial did not name any specific social media network, Weibo said its decision to remove the “Star Power Ranking List” was in part due to the “irrational support” some fans were showing for celebrities.

The list encourages unhealthy interactions between stars and fans, the company said in the statement.

In May, People’s Daily published an op-ed that condemned the “crazy star-hunting behavior that gradually makes people lose their minds.”

An English translation of the editorial says: “In particular, many underage fans are not only incapable of making money, but also immature in their minds. They often fall into the trap of “overconsumption” and “borrowing to hunt the stars”.

“… Objectively, out of love, fans are willing to devote their time, money and energy to building momentum and resources for idols, which is a personal choice.

“But in the logic of some extreme fans, money equals love, and how much you love idols should be reflected in how much money you spend.

“If you spend less money, you will be morally kidnapped and personally attacked as ‘unworthy of love’. So, all likes and support became endless brands, endless lists, and endless data. “

The newspaper claims that this area of ​​show business is a “multi-party conspiracy to surround and suppress fans” led by “artists, brands, platforms, brokerage teams, etc.”

Popular platforms in China on which fans interact with celebrities also include Bilibili, the live streaming site Kuaishou and Douyin supported by ByteDance.

China’s internet watchdog last month said it fined Weibo and online platforms operated by e-commerce company Alibaba and games company Tencent for promoting content involving children. .

Last month, Weibo, Alibaba Taobao’s e-commerce marketplace, Tencent, Kuaishou’s QQ messaging service, and Xiaohongshu e-commerce service were fined for distributing “stickers” online. or short videos involving children in sexually suggestive poses, China’s Cyberspace Administration said. in a report.

Companies have been ordered to rectify the problem and ban accounts that use content involving children to increase traffic.

People’s Daily, who is the spokesperson for the Chinese Communist Party-led government, also published several editorials calling for crackdowns on industries such as gambling – which he condemned as “spiritual opium” for teenagers .

The condemnation in the editorials, sparked by reports that children were addicted to video games – one student saying he played eight hours a day – led investors to dump stocks in the games industry.

In a social media post, Tencent said it was introducing measures on how long children can play its online games after “competent authorities” demanded more protection for minors and for children to play their games online. companies are fulfilling their “social responsibility”.

Tencent has also banned children under the age of 12 from being able to make in-game purchases.

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