Weibo Drops Ranking Lists to Counter Celebrity Culture

The microblogging platform said the move was necessary to rein in “irrational support” by hardcore fans.

China’s microblogging platform Weibo announced Friday that it had withdrawn its online list ranking top celebrities by their followers and popularity of posts.

Weibo said the move was aimed at curbing “irrational support” by fans of celebrities, who persistently competed for higher rankings, sometimes courting controversy by spending millions on campaigns or even turning to fraud.

The microblogging company’s statement came hours after the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China’s graft watchdog, published Thursday an editorial on celebrity culture, which it said had “challenged society’s legal and moral standards on multiple occasions.”

Weibo, China’s most influential social media platform, introduced the “star power list” in 2014 to gauge the popularity of celebrities. Each ranking took into consideration an account’s followers, as well as the frequency of activity, engagement, social influence, and “positive energy.”

But seven years on, the curtains came down. Weibo said in a statement Friday: “The list does not fully and objectively reflect the social influence of celebrities, and it has also deviated from healthy interactions between stars and fans.”

The company added it was working on a new ranking mechanism that would curb “fan fundraising, rankings, review manipulation, and other behavior,” and also “encourage stars to interact with fans through their work, charity, and other content.”

So significant were the celebrity rankings on Weibo that it spawned “data fans,” who voluntarily spent hours each day on the platform controlling multiple active accounts, reviewing posts, dominating comments, and sending virtual gifts to show their support. Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.