COVID-19 ACROSS PLATFORM SOCIETIES: EXPLORING THE PANDEMIC THROUGH WEIBO AND TWITTER
Keywords:Platform studies, Weibo, Twitter
AbstractInformation and communication technologies occupy a central position in the Covid-19 pandemic. Public response has been deemed extremely important, with social media platforms playing a key role in both institutional and bottom-up information sharing processes. The emerging field of platform studies has shown that platforms increasingly influence how society works; however, such studies often adopt a highly Western-centric approach. By developing an exploration of Twitter and Weibo use in the early stages of the pandemic, this study provides a comparative investigation of the role of platforms in societies. Our findings indicate that during the Covid-19 outbreak, Weibo worked as a propaganda tool to unite the Chinese people and promote public policies under the control of the government and the guidance of the mainstream media. Twitter functioned more like a public discourse platform open to personal expression, often showing the influence of defined partisan political discourses. We argue that the participatory dynamics characterising Weibo and Twitter conversations at the outbreak of the pandemic at least partially mirrored the different ‘platforms societies’ currently developing in China and the West.
How to Cite
Yang, Z., & Vicari, S. (2021). COVID-19 ACROSS PLATFORM SOCIETIES: EXPLORING THE PANDEMIC THROUGH WEIBO AND TWITTER. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12264