Sat, Jul 14, 2012 - Page 5 News List

US embassy social media account in China disappears

SHUT DOWN?It was not clear why the US consulate in Shanghai’s microblog was not available, but it sometimes commented on social and political issues

AP, BEIJING

A popular microblog produced by the US consulate in Shanghai on China’s most popular blogging site was inaccessible yesterday, with a search for the account saying results could not be displayed and “relevant sensitive information or garbage content has been filtered.”

US officials from the US State Department, the embassy in Beijing and the consulate were not immediately available for comment, but on a microblogging site hosted by another Chinese company, Tencent, the consulate says the account disappeared on Thursday morning.

“We are working to find out why and we plan to resume normal operations as soon as possible,” it says.

A Sina Weibo employee who did not give her name said yesterday it might be a technical glitch.

“We are not sure what happened exactly,” she said.

Sina Weibo accounts for the US embassy in Beijing and other US consulates in China were operating normally yesterday.

The Shanghai consulate’s account was known for its playful language that used trendy Chinese online expressions to interact with its Chinese followers.

The account sometimes made tongue-in-cheek comments about social and political issues in China.

It had more than 80,000 followers.

Sina Weibo employs a team of censors who make sure the site is free of personal attacks, pornography, as well as any “illegal information,” which covers topics the government wants to keep out of public discussions.

Sina Weibo says it reserves the rights to delete posts and freeze accounts for content it deems offensive.

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