Politics, Rumors, and Ambiguity:Tracking Censorship on WeChat’s Public Accounts Platform

Ng, Jason Q.

Much research has been done studying the relationship between media control and authoritarian regime durability. In this report, we examine one method of online information control by the world’s most sophisticated regulator of the Internet, China. We focus on how Tencent’s WeChat (aka Weixin in China), the leading mobile chat app in the country, restricts information on its public accounts platform (微信公众平台)—a growing social media blogging alternative to Sina Weibo. After performing a systematic collection of tens of thousands of WeChat public posts, we analyze the types of content removed by WeChat on its public accounts (also known as “official accounts”) platform. Overall, this collection of deleted posts serves as another set of data points in the ongoing goal to explicate the motives behind online censorship in China.