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This article was published on October 2, 2013

    You can sidestep China’s censorship and decrypt Sina Weibo posts with this newly-launched tool

    You can sidestep China’s censorship and decrypt Sina Weibo posts with this newly-launched tool Image by: MARK RALSTON
    Kaylene Hong
    Story by

    Kaylene Hong

    Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.

    Chinese authorities censor discussions regularly on Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo, and one of the ways it does so is to show a message saying “Sorry, this weibo is not suitable for the public. Please contact customer support for help.”

    There is now a way to work around this, however, by using a newly-launched tool developed by the GreatFire team’s Freeweibo.com to decrypt these hidden posts, GreatFire says in a blog post.

    How it works: when Sina Weibo users come upon such a message telling them they can’t view the post, they can go ahead to click on the posted timestamp in the lower left corner (circled in red below) and receive a URL that belongs to the post.

    All you have to do next is copy and paste this URL on the Decrypt Weibo service, and the original message will show up.

    GreatFire notes that with this move, Chinese Internet users can see for themeslves what information the Chinese authorities have chosen to black out on the Sina Weibo platform, giving them an additional layer of knowledge.

    It’s not sure if or when the government will find out about this loophole and take steps to crack down on it — but for now, these mysterious Sina Weibo posts will be able to get a lease of life among curious Chinese Internet users.

    Decrypt Weibo [GreatFire]

    Headline image via Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images