Starting on August 1st, only preapproved websites will be allowed to post their URL on Weibo.
On July 8th, Weibo announced a new website whitelist for external URLs posted on the Weibo platform. Preapproved websites include Chinese government, State news, and certified enterprise websites. All other websites will be restricted unless first going through an authentication process. The authentication process includes ensuring a site’s content is legal and compliant, has an ICP filling, and a Chinese business license.
Restricting which URLs can be posted is likely as much about self-policing to stay in-step with the CCP as it serves the interests of its shareholders. For quite some time, Weibo has been milking its platform for everything it’s worth, and no doubt, there will be new fees for whitelisted sites. The social network ranks number one in the “pay-to-play” category. However, Weibo remains an essential platform as it’s still the best place for Chinese to discover celebrity gossip and peripheral news.