Sina Weibo, the most popular Twitter-like service in China, recently announced their platform had reached up to 250 million users and also declared the company formed a special team to ‘control rumor’ spreading across its platform. The team aimed to crack down any false rumors as well as to help government with crackdown activity. We are curious of how many human resource does Sina need to use in order to control rumor? How does the team judge the credibility of rumors? Well, let see what the director of the team (Tan Chao) said.
According to Tan Chao told China Daily:
The job is vital, as we want to protect the truth and maintain an unpolluted Web. There is a lot of information on Weibo, much of it eye-catching, which means it attracts a lot of people. Yet users are not always good at judging what is true and what is false. They can be easily misled.
The team has formed by 10 person (Just 10!) strong staff which maintains a 24 hours monitoring the platform. They all have been editors or senior journalists, well suited to the demands of finding and verifying news quickly. Here is what Chao explained:
Having a good news sense was an important factor when we were hiring. The work needs people to be keen-eyed and good communicators.
They verify rumors pretty much the same way as what they did as a journalist, such as making phone calls and inquiries. What’s more? The director of the team did not reveal too much information about it. But that is very enough.
Two of the biggest foreign social networks, Facebook and Twitter, also have something the similar but Sina is definitely going to monitor rumors much harsh than other media platforms.
Undoubtedly, the key role of this team is particularly centralized online protests, aid the government with crackdown on activists. So, if there is unfriendly or unrealistic rumors spreading around, then the content will be expected to be deleted without any surprise. Just like the case with Ai Weiwei, who got the entire account removed due to his commentary that deemed political sensitive.
But presumably, this team will also helps the government to conceal scandals like the high-speed train crash spreading across Weibo. The incident killed at least 35 people and the official ordered all local publications not to report the incident. We are guessing the ‘rumor control’ team is more like a team of censor.
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