The number of Chinese using microblogs fell 9% in 2013 from 2012, according to a report by the government’s China Internet Network Information Center, The Wall Street Journal reported. The center attributed the drop in users – from 308.6 million in 2012 to 280.8 million in 2013 – to growing competition from social networks and messaging applications on smartphones, such as Tencent’s WeChat. A spokesman for Sina, which operates Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform, said these numbers didn’t match the positive trend Sina reported as part of its most recent earnings filing. In 2013, the government launched a crackdown on speech in mircoblogs.
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