Weibo, China's Twitter counterpart, warned its users on Friday (Jan 28) not to publish any content from the forthcoming Beijing Winter Olympics that belongs to broadcast rights holders or risk being blocked.
The site, which has over 570 million monthly active users, released a reminder on its official account and sent direct messages to all of its users, regardless of whether they have previously submitted Olympic content.
Many Weibo users made light of the platform's handling of the announcement. "It gave me a fright," one user said. "I initially thought I did something wrong."
The notice stated that CCTV, China's state broadcaster, had the exclusive broadcasting rights for the Games in mainland China, including Macau, from Feb. 4 to 20, and that any content reproduced without CCTV's consent would infringe on its rights.
"In such cases, Weibo will at the request of the copyright owner, take measures such as deleting and blocking any infringing content you may publish, and serious offenders will be punished with bans and other penalties," it said.
The International Olympic Committee zealously safeguards broadcasters' rights for the Games and has said that posting videos on social media, even for athletes, is not permitted.
Elaine Thompson-Herah, a Jamaican double gold medalist sprinter, was briefly banned from Instagram during the Tokyo Olympics when she posted videos of her winning 100 and 200-meter races to her 310,000 followers.
Weibo users were advised to "participate and interact with the Olympics in a civilized and legal way."
The English-language song produced by the state media for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which has received a lot of applause on Chinese social media but has been slammed by international critics as "cringey" and out of touch with reality, is adding to the frenzy on Weibo.
State news agency Xinhua uploaded the music video "Join Us in Winter" on Weibo this week, while other state-backed news sites such as the Global Times shared it on Twitter.
The cheery ballad, which features Zeng Shunxi, a 24-year-old Chinese actor and singer, Xinhua journalist Lu Binqi, and patriotic rap group CDRev, known for their tunes targeting perceived enemies of the Chinese government, urges listeners to attend the games and says that whether athletes "win or lose, we cheer for you,"
It received a lot of positive feedback on Chinese Weibo, particularly from fans of Zeng, who has over 20 million Weibo followers.
However, on Twitter, which is banned in China, some branded the lyrics "cringey," claiming that the title was misaligned with stringent travel restrictions in China and for the Games, such as mandatory quarantine for most visitors and the decision not to sell any tickets locally.