Two of China’s largest online platforms are publicly accusing each other of harming their interests. According to accusations, China’s Twitter-like social platform Weibo has been blocking Douyin, a popular short video app owned by Bytedance. Bytedance also operates the largest news aggregation platform in China Jinri Toutiao or Daily Headlines.

The relationship between the two platforms has been tense for some time. In April 2017, Toutiao launched Wei Toutiao or Micro Headlines, a product that allowed users to publish content, build relationships, and get fans. Many believed that Wei Toutiao was created as a competition to Weibo. Last August, Weibo accused Jinri Toutiao’s Wei Toutiao app of illegally acquiring and using Weibo content.  At that time, Weibo suspended its cooperation with Jinri Toutiao.

The latest spat came after Weibo users reported this month that when posting links to Douyin the links would only appear to the poster and not for anyone else viewing their Weibo page or newsfeed.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...