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sina weibo

Sina Weibo users can now post to Facebook… unless they’re in China

This is interesting. Anyone even vaguely familiar with the Chinese online scene knows that Western social networks like Twitter and Facebook are banned in the country. But now people using China’s Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo can post statuses to Facebook, unless they’re in China that is.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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According to The Next Web, the feature was first spotted by Jeffrey Broer, CEO of the Hong Kong-based Sina Weibo-translation app Surround App.

In order to make use of the feature, you just have to click on the Facebook icon, located next to the log in and registration buttons at the top of the page. For now, it looks like all you can do is let your friends know you’re using Sina Weibo although the company says that it will likely increase the functionality to allow people to cross-post status updates and audiovisual content from Sina Weibo to Facebook.

Given the strict parameters of China’s Great Firewall, it should hardly be surprising that the feature isn’t available in China. Unfortunately Facebook users also won’t be able to post their updates the other way, although it might help Sina Weibo expand its user base a bit.

If it really wants to make the most of its integration with Facebook however, it needs to make a much more concerted effort than it did with its previous attempt to attract international users.

In that instance, Sina Weibo’s insistence on real name rules stopped its attempts at going global in their tracks. In 2011, international tech pundits were getting ready for a potential battle between the two social giants, particularly after the Chinese social service launched and English-language version. But shortly thereafter China began clamping down on the service and requiring that people use their real names.

While Facebook integration may aid its international expansion, it’s unlikely that it will do anything for its attempts to boost revenue in China. There, the investment from Alibaba and the resulting decision to push social ecommerce and mobile optimisation are more likely to help.