Chinese social media site WeChat has permanently banned almost all LGBT college accounts on its platform overnight, with no explanation to date given.
WeChat, which is a social and messaging app as well as payment processor, has around a billion regular users, and is mainly used in Asia.
This week, the vast majority of LGBT+ groups reportedly found that their accounts and postings had been permanently deleted in a sudden overnight crackdown, with a vague notice given about how the accounts “had violated regulations on the management of accounts offering public information service on the Chinese internet.”
However, according to some users on Chinese social media site Weibo, some of the accounts that were removed had been inactive for years, meaning it was unlikely that they were removed for recent rule violations.
Homosexuality in China was officially decriminalised in 1997, and removed from the Chinese list of mental disorders in 2001. However, earlier this year, a Chinese court defended a university’s description of homosexuality as a psychological disorder, arguing that it was merely “an academic view.”
China’s official cyberspace regulator recently vowed to crack down on “bad influences,” including “inducing minors to contribute money to their idols, conducing online abuse or doxxing, stopping activities that encourage fans to flaunt their wealth, manipulate comments on social media, making up topics online to hijack public opinion, as well as using bots to increase traffic data related to their idols.”
China's thriving online fans clubs are facing regulations from the authority now. https://t.co/pyPZNgNqCR
— MARKETING MAGAZINE (@MarketingEds) June 16, 2021
The organisation said they would shut down social media accounts, pages and groups that they deemed a “bad influence” and punish platforms that fail to regulate undesirable behaviours.