Nowadays, digital platforms have changed the way in which many of us produce, access, discuss and share news stories. Although some western social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China, their Chinese equivalents are popular and influential.
Weibo and Wechat currently dominate Chinese social media landscape, they are just like the king and queen in terms of their social influence and power. They also affect journalism because of the reliable news sources shared by their users.
Weibo is a Chinese micro-blogging website (also available as a mobile app), often seen as the combination of 70% Twitter and 30% Facebook. On the Twitter side, each post has a 140-character limit. On the Facebook side, users have many more options with regard to sharing music and videos, creating polls and campaigns, and they can personalize their profiles a lot more.
WeChat is a free moblie communication app. It provides text messaging, hold-to-talk voice messaging, broadcast (one-to-many) messaging, sharing of photos and videos as well as location sharing. However, in the western market, we don’t see any clear counterpart for WeChat.
It is widely believed that China’s media is supervised by government, however, some digital platforms such as Weibo and Wechat make it possible that the media function is changing from propaganda tools to multifunctional media gradually. They provide opportunities for citizens to reveal the dark side of society such as income inequalities, official corruption and some emergency accidents. Therefore, many journalists can acquire news information through these platforms.
Many news agencies have registered their own official accounts on Weibo and WeChat to post daily news for the large audiences. News, affected by digital platforms, has undergone great changes in reporting and releasing modes. These platforms make news to meet the user’s personal and individual needs.