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Problems for China social websites

Posted by Author on July 23, 2009, July 23, 2009 –

p2pnet news view | P2P | Politics:– Two Chinese Web sites offering Twitter-like micro-blogging both went down, yesterday, supposedly for maintenance.

IndexOnCensorship has well-known blogger Wen Yunchaosaying having two sites close on the same day, “indicates pressure from authorities for them to shut down”.

The timing was probably related to the 10-year anniversary on July 22 of the banning of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, he says.

Sites that are inaccessible or aren’t working properly include Fanfou, Digu, Zuosa and Jiwai, Bloomberg News quotes Xiao Qiang, director of the Berkeley China Internet Project, as saying.

The sites work like Twitter, “allowing users to post information quickly before editors can review their submissions,” according to Qiang.

“Dr. Song Li, a very successful Chinese web-entrepreneur, seems to be pulling it off again,” said (from whence came the pic) in April, going on:

“He recently launched Digu, a Chinese miniblogging service currently still in Beta that people in the West will soon unrightfully refer to as ‘the biggest Chinese Twitter’. Ok, admitted, Digu shares some major similarities with Twitter: it is a microblogging service and has a Twitterrish (or new Facebook startpage?) interface, but there is plenty more to it.

“So what makes this service so special compared to Twitter or the many Chinese Twitter copycats such as TaoTao, FanFou, Jiwai, Komoo (checkout their funky design!), Zuosa, etc etc? First of all Digu – which sounds like whisper in Chinese – focuses a lot more on both entertainment and mobile.”

Adds the story, “Song is the co-founder of MeMeStar, a Chinese mobile mobile value-added service provider  sold for $20.8 to Sina in 2003 and is founder/CEO of, a successful Chinese online dating service. Needless to say Dr. Song has enough cash to spend on his new venture so Digu is seeded very well.”

Meanwhile, the likely idea for the sites’ problems is to, “create some speed bumps for users of social networks, to slow down the spread of news and opinion contrary to the government,” Bloomberg News has Jonathan Zittrain, co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University in Cambridge, stating.

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