Censors In China Seem To Like The 7 P.M. Nightly News

Want to get a subversive post across Sina Weibo? Researchers found that many censors seem to be off duty at 7 p.m.

Ever wonder when the best time to try to publish a protest post in China is? A new study found that minders in China are the least likely to censor a post on the country's microblogging site Sina Weibo at 7 p.m. in Beijing, when a national news program airs.

Before and after that, however, getting subversive posts out proved much more difficult thanks to censors who worked quickly, according to the study. The researchers—from the University of New Mexico, Rice University, and Bowdoin College—found that posts subject to censorship were most likely to be deleted within 24 hours of their post, with 30% of the deletions happening within 5-30 minutes of the original post going live. The researchers also found that the topics where mass removal happens the fastest are those that combine events that are hot topics in Weibo (for example, the Beijing rainstorms or a sex scandal) with themes common to sensitive posts (like Beijing, government, etc).

For posts which are deleted then reposted by users, censors normally take them down within five minutes, the researchers found. To read the whole paper click here.

[Image: Flickr user Andy Castro]

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