The social compact between Sina Weibo and the Chinese government that allows the provocative microblogging platform to exist at all is that it must maintain an in-house stable of paid censors to scrub content deemed too sensitive. A new academic study (PDF) provides more details on how this process works.
First, it’s pretty fast. As researchers at Rice University, Bowdoin College, University of Mexico, and the independent investigator Tao Zhu wrote, “5% of the deletions [of controversial posts] happened in the ﬁrst 8 minutes, and within 30 minutes, almost 30% of the deletions were ﬁnished. More than 90% of deletions happened within one day after a post was submitted.”