Weibo’s ban of homosexual content during three-month “detox” period met with online outrage

Weibo’s censorship of homosexual content rallied netizens behind #IAmGay rally, which garnered 130 million views.

China has banned homosexual content on social media platform Weibo and users are not taking it lying down.

The “clean-up” was announced on April 13, and included the censorship of “bloody violence”, cartoon, images, as well as homosexual and pornographic material, according to independent site What’s on Weibo.

The site also reported that a total of 56,243 related violations were erased by the time the notice was published.

Hours later, the “I Am Gay” hashtag went viral on the social media site in open protest of the new guidelines. Several variations of the slogan popped up too, including “I am breaking the law”, and #Iamgaynotapervert.

One commenter said: “You say you want to seal my mouth. But I know all you can seal is my account.”

As the hashtag leaked over to Twitter, social media users from other countries chimed in.

Along with the hashtags, various images of rainbows were also uploaded to express support for the LGBT community.

Weibo has fought back by banning the hashtags and taking down some 150,000 related comments, according to German news site Deutsche Welle.

The official Sina Weibo account states that the new guidelines were implemented to “fulfill corporate responsibility” and to “create a bright and harmonious community environment”.

This isn’t the first time the micro-blogging site has restricted homosexual content.

In 2017, the Chinese authorities issued a cybersecurity law that banned “displays of homosexuality” from audio-visual content on China’s video platforms, along with other perverse content like incest and sexual violence.