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Outrage As Chinese Version Of Twitter Publicly Exposes 570 Million Users’ Locations

What would you do if you woke up and found out that every single Tweet you posted has its location exposed to the general public?

As hypothetical as it sounds, that’s the reality of so many Weibo users who are beyond outraged and shocked at the news.

For those who may not be aware, Weibo is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter and it’s an intensely popular application in the country. On average, we’re talking about almost 570 million active users that originally subscribed to the app.

But now, it might not be surprising for the popular Chinese platform to see a rapid decline in its users as this shocking news comes into effect today. And just in case things couldn’t get worse, the app doesn’t know how to combat or disable the threatening feature that was originally designed to ward off ‘bad behavior’.

News reports from Reuters claim Weibo may have implemented the effect without putting much thought into the original goal of ridding impersonators who involve themselves in trending issues. Similarly, it highlighted how Weibo originally intended to drive off malicious content and campaigns that were involved in scraping traffic.

But instead of making sure things were transparent and authentic, the opposite has happened and now the app is beyond clueless as to what went wrong.

So what does the new policy for this app mean? Well, the answer is simple. Weibo users posting up content will have their location including the province exposed to strangers whenever they press the publish button.

Similarly, the exact IP location will be on public view from their accounts. However, those who will be making posts from outside the country will also have their IP addresses on display. The only difference is that the new nation where they’re present will be shown instead of China.

While many are grateful that location-sharing isn’t as specific as many anticipated, it’s still a direct attack on users' privacy. After all, it goes against the app’s policy of securing their rights.

It’s not a huge surprise that the news has angered plenty of users that were never keen on sharing their exact location with the public. But you may be shocked that there’s an entirely different school of thought where plenty feel the step is a great change as it clearly avoids sharing rumors, negativity, and poorly crafted content.

Whatever the case may be, Weibo says they’re working on the blunder and hope to retain their healthy atmosphere where the focus should only be on discussion and nothing else.


Read next: Apple may upgrade iCloud Private Relay on iOS 16, protecting the user’s internet privacy to another level

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