What happened: Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, added a new feature on Friday that allows users to hide posts older than six months. Weibo’s official account stated that the new feature is aimed at “giving users more initiative and managerial power.” By launching the new feature, Weibo is following the footsteps of rival WeChat in making social media content less permanent or even momentary. WeChat launched a similar control in 2017 for its Moments newsfeed feature, giving users options to hide posts older than three days or six months.
Why it’s important: Setting time limits for social media content is proving to be a controversial function in China. While some embrace it for the privacy aspect, others are critical of limiting access to friends’ posts. Weibo’s introduction of the feature is drawing scrutiny from users about whether it is a good option for the microblogging platform, which embraces openness as one of its core values. Some users criticized Weibo of blindly imitating WeChat, a private messaging app for which a hiding function may be more suitable, especially because the newsfeed feature is peripheral to its core service.