Chinese social media network Sina Weibo has backtracked from a controversial gay content ban after a massive outcry.
Last Friday the microblogging platform said that posts related to homosexuality would be taken down.
It prompted a deluge of posts from outraged netizens protesting against the decision. On Monday, Sina Weibo said it would reverse the ban.
Often described as China’s answer to Twitter, Sina Weibo is one of the most popular social networks in the country.
Last Friday Sina Weibo made a surprise announcement that it was launching a “clean-up campaign”.
It said that for the next three months, the platform would remove content including images, videos, text and cartoons that were related to pornography, violence, or homosexuality.
“This is to further ensure a clear and harmonious society and environment,” the network said in its statement, adding that it had already scrubbed more than 50,000 posts by then.
Sina Weibo said it was initiating the clean-up because of stricter internet laws put in place last year, but it did not explain why it was only acting now.
Chinese authorities have embarked on a campaign in recent years aimed at purging internet content that it deems inappropriate.
By early Monday morning, the most censored search term on Weibo was “homosexuality”, according to censorship tracker FreeWeibo.
How did netizens react?
Over the weekend many in the LGBT community took to the network to protest against the decision, using hashtags such as #IAmGay# and #ScumbagSinaHelloIAmGay#.
Some tried testing the ban and uploaded pictures of themselves with partners or gay friends or relatives.
Among them was LGBT rights activist Pu Chunmei, whose impassioned post accompanied with pictures of her with her gay son quickly went viral.