WeChatscope project aims to make censored articles of WeChat’s public accounts in China open access.
In January 2018, Dr. King-wa Fu, Associate Professor at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong, started monitoring WeChat public accounts for removed content. The research team now systematically collects data from more than 4,000 WeChat public accounts. The sample size is always rising.
Although WeChat does not provide an easy way for the public to access its data, the WeChatscope team has developed a system to “scrape” data from the mobile application interface of WeChat. An automated “crawler” revisits published articles and stores their content. Once an article is detected as censored, the copy in the database is restored, and the system allows public access to the censored data through an application programming interface (API) or a web link.
When you use the data of the WeChatscope project, please cite the following reference.
Tai, Y, Fu, K.W. (2020). Specificity, Conflicts, and Focal Point: A systematic investigation into social media censorship in China. Journal of Communication, Volume 70, Issue 6