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Which Social Media Facilitate Online Public Opinion in China?

Stockmann, Daniela and Luo, Ting (2017) Which Social Media Facilitate Online Public Opinion in China? Problems of Post-Communism, 64 (3-4). pp. 189-202. ISSN 1075-8216

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Abstract

Why does online public opinion emerge in some social media more easily than in others? Building on research on authoritarian deliberation, we describe spaces for political discussion in Chinese cyberspace in terms of interactivity, which results in different forms of political discussion. Drawing on semi-structured qualitative expert interviews with information and communications technology professionals at Tencent, Weibo, and Baidu, we explain how major social media differ in terms of their structure and the company’s motivation. We specify which features are more likely to facilitate the emergence of online public opinion in Chinese social media and provide preliminary evidence from 92 semi-structured interviews with Internet users.

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