WeChat reaches audiences conventional media in China cannot

Mia Shuang Li, Columbia Journalism Review, Jan 12, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

It's an interesting time in the world of social media. News agencies today are reporting that Facebook is changing it's news feed to show you more content from family and less from news sources (many of which were untrustworthy). They, along with Twitter and Google, are also being called to account for extremist content. But with Twitter, fame trumps discretion. The opposite is happening in China, as WeChat is becoming a major news source, despite the potential for misinformation spreading on WeChat just as it does on Facebook. But the tide is turning in China as well. In October, China banned anonymous social media registrations. That still leaves the problem of findind actual news not covered by authoritative news sources. In China there are Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) who dig up these stories. In the west we follow celebities and sports figures.

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