Weibo blocks users from posting photos and videos on Tiananmen anniversary

Image: Bradshaw/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, blocked millions of its overseas users from posting pictures or video yesterday, the 28th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989.

The ban over the weekend was simply announced as a “systems update,” but people noticed that local users were also not able to change their profile information, nor post photos or videos in comments.

During student-led, pro-democracy protests in the square in 1989, the Chinese military, armed with rifles and tanks, killed at least several hundred demonstrators.

A student movement leader speaks to a crowd at Tiananmen on May 28, 1989.

Image: Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Chinese government has never officially acknowledged the incident, and has actively censored and blocked any mention of the events online.

On Saturday morning, Weibo posted a notice to its 340 million users announcing the systems “upgrade,” saying that some of its functions would not be available until Monday.

Image: Ng Yi Shu/Mashable

Comments on that post were closed, and when we attempted to post a comment saying: “I want to comment,” a notice popped up saying that the comment was in violation of Weibo’s community standards.

“The contents of your comment has violated Weibo’s Community Regulations or relevant laws, we cannot post the comment for you,” says the notice.

Image: Ng Yi Shu/Mashable

Users overseas confirmed that they couldn’t post any media because of the restrictions:

Image: Ng Yi Shu/Mashable

“I can’t post any photos or livestream while I’m outside the country apparently Weibo’s overseas systems had an upgrade, and I can only upload photos after June 5. Sorry, I can only send out Weibo Stories.”

Image: NG YI SHU/MASHABLE

“Dammit, it took me so much time to earn six coins on Bilibili (a video-streaming site) and I wanted to change my name, but apparently the system’s being upgraded today.”

Some users decided to stop publishing posts until the restrictions were lifted.

Image: NG YI SHU/MASHABLE

“Because of a systems upgrade by Weibo, I’m sorry that I can’t upload videos and photos until June 5, and I can’t update you about my life because I’m overseas. Wait for me!” said Japanese rock star, Gackt.

The weekend would have seen a flood of commemorative posts about Tiananmen coming in. Some users pointed out the coincidence.

Image: Ng Yi SHu/Mashable

“Just look at the calendar today and you’ll realise why you can’t post stuff from overseas.”

Image: NG YI SHU/MASHABLE

“Wow, this happens every year! Such a coincidence. Could it be control?”

Image: NG YI SHU/MASHABLE

“It’s because of a very special day.”

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