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Douban sues Weibo for unfair competition

Arts-focused Chinese social media platform Douban said on Wednesday it had filed lawsuits against microblogging rival Weibo over alleged unfair competition. Weibo is accused of approaching Douban’s community group managers and asking them to operate groups on similar topics on Weibo. In addition, the Twitter-like app is allegedly moving content from Douban to its own platform. Douban is seeking a public apology from Weibo, as well as demanding a symbolic RMB 1 ($0.15) indemnity and the litigation fees from the case. In response, Weibo has denied unfair competition practices, adding that it has prohibited users and multi-channel network institutions from moving “inaccurate, antagonistic and other undesirable content” from a certain platform. Douban, founded in 2005, once served as the spiritual home of Chinese hipsters. It’s a combination of a group of popular features such as film reviews and ratings and book and music review and discussion services. [Douban statement, in Chinese]

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Weibo added to U.S. delisting watchlist

Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has been added to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s delisting watchlist on Wednesday, making it the sixth Chinese company added to the list and now at risk of a potential forced delisting, Reuters reported on Thursday. Weibo’s stock fell 10.1% on the news, but had recovered to a 0.6% decline by close of trading. One of the biggest social media platforms in China, Weibo – which is often compared to Twitter and has a secondary listing in Hong Kong – earned $2.3 billion in net revenue in 2021, with 573 million monthly active users as of December last year, according to its 2021 financial report. [Reuters, in Chinese]

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Weibo says staff layoffs are part of organizational adjustment

China’s Twitter-like service Weibo responded to rumors of large-scale staff layoffs at the company, stating that they were part of a business adjustment, as reported by Times Finance. On Feb. 18, users working at Weibo began posting on Maimai, a social platform like LinkedIn, stating that they had been laid off, with the news quickly becoming a trending topic on Maimai. A Weibo representative, speaking to Times Finance, denied that these layoffs had happened, saying that the company is making structural adjustments and will reassign employees involved. The Weibo representative added, however, that if there are no appropriate vacant jobs available, employees will have their contracts terminated. [Time Finance, in Chinese]

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Weibo CEO pledges 3% ad income for social responsibility program

China’s Twitter-like service Weibo will invest 3% of its annual ad revenue to promote public welfare activities and other social responsibility initiatives, the company’s CEO Wang Gaofei said on Monday at a cyberspace forum held in Beijing. The company made the pledge as Chinese regulators tighten controls on internet companies, with authorities having punished a series of social media platforms including Weibo, Douban, and Zhihu for “illegal information release” in 2021. [Sina Tech, in Chinese]

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Regulator fines Weibo RMB 3 million for publishing ‘illegal’ information

China’s internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), said on Tuesday that it has imposed a fine of RMB 3 million ($471,165) on Chinese social media platform Weibo for publishing and spreading “illegal” information. The agency has summoned executives of the company, ordering the platform to “rectify immediately and punish people in charge of the matter.” The company has received a total fine of more than RMB 14.3 million from January to November for similar violations, according to the CAC announcement. [CAC announcement, in Chinese]