Weibo pulls celeb ranking list after state media rap

Weibo pulls celebrity ranking list after state media raps 'unworthy' stars

Weibo said its decision to take down the "star power list", which ranked celebrities based on the popularity of their social posts and number of followers, was partly due to the "irrational support". Credit: Reuters photo

China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo said on Friday it would take down an online list that ranks celebrities by popularity after state media said social media platforms ought to rein in the promotion of celebrity culture to protect children.

The announcement came hours after the state-owned People's Daily published an editorial criticising platforms that prioritize traffic and create celebrities out of "unworthy" individuals, who can draw attention and money from fans.

It did not name any companies.

Weibo said its decision to take down the "star power list", which ranked celebrities based on the popularity of their social posts and number of followers, was partly due to the "irrational support" some fans were showing for celebrities.

"The list cannot comprehensively and objectively reflect the social influence of stars" and discourages healthy interaction between stars and fans, the company said in the statement.

The list was no longer visible on line on Friday.

The People's Daily opinion piece is one of several editorials published this week calling for crackdowns on industries such as gaming and alcohol, which have prompted investors to dump stocks in targeted sectors.

The article argued that teenagers' cultural experience, self-awareness and consumption habits were all influenced by new media and technology, while the type of celebrities they followed and admired were closely related to online platforms.

The editorial comes after Chinese-Canadian pop singer Kris Wu was detained by police amid allegations of seducing underage women. Wu has denied the accusations.

Wu's case has been widely followed in China and seen as a sign of excesses in China's entertainment industry and timely in the wake of the global #MeToo movement.

Online platforms should "strictly control idol development programmes and strengthen management of talent show programmes" by controlling reviews, voting mechanisms and comments, the article said.

Popular platforms in China on which fans interact with celebrities, besides Weibo, include Bilibili Inc, Kuaishou Technology, and ByteDance-backed Douyin.