Is China loosening its restrictions on Facebook and Twitter?

dont get your hopes up chinas still not down with facebook and twitter china

Every time there’s a report that says China is finally opening its arms to social media, we admit, we get pretty excited. Today, a couple of news outlets have sourced a South China Morning Post exclusive that supposedly cited an anonymous source who claimed he was able to use his gadgets to access both Twitter and Facebook at the lobby and his room at the ritzy St. Regis Beijing Hotel, where U.S. presidents come to stay on their visits to the country. The source further confirmed his experience, stating that his acquaintances that have stayed in other 5-star establishments have also been able to log onto the two social sites.

Many were quick to correct erroneous interpretations of the SCMP report. “Apparently no-one at the SCMP knows how the Internet works,” a user commented on Shangaiist.com. “The authorities have not ‘lifted control.’ The hotels have VPNs built into their Wi-Fi. Siif Bar in Beijing, a tiny little hutong dive, has the same thing. As does the NYT office.”

Currently, the original post is ironically protected from public access, and it seems that out of all the opinion columns published today, it’s the only one with such restrictions. This could be taken as a sign that yes, while the Chinese government has been known to temporarily lift firewall controls to accommodate tourists and international functions, contrary to what some reports insinuate, China isn’t quite prepared to relinquish complete Internet freedom to its citizens.

Hope is not completely lost, though. Sina Weibo, which is essentially China’s version of Twitter, was recently found to allow new sign ups using Facebook. Anyone logging into Weibo Taiwan or Weibo HK will be able to see the very familiar Facebook icon near the log-in portion of the site, and clicking on it will allow users to cross-post on the social site via their Weibo accounts. For now, this new feature is only available to users based in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but plans to expand to other territories are reportedly in place.

Mobile

OpenTable points can now be used to whittle down cost of a hotel stay

Have some OpenTable Dining Points built up? Now those points can also be used to make your own hotel discounts. OpenTable is teaming up with Kayak to use points as discounts on participating hotels.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Home Theater

Roku adds automatic sign-out mode, for those with regular houseguests

Being able to use a Roku device while staying at a hotel or Airbnb is awesome. What is less awesome is leaving yourself signed in after you leave. With a new automatic sign-out feature, Roku is making it easier to relax.
Gaming

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.
Photography

Photoshop fail gives Aussie leader two left feet in official portrait

The Aussie prime minister doesn't have two left feet, despite an official photograph of the leader and his family suggesting otherwise. It was, of course, a Photoshop fail, and the embarrassing snafu was soon trending on Twitter.
Social Media

Instagram now lets you post to multiple accounts in one tap

Instagram for iPhone now lets you post to multiple accounts at the same time. It's not the regram feature that many users have been asking for, but it could prove useful for some users who manage more than one profile.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Social Media

Invite your friends — Facebook Events can now be shared to Stories

Facebook is testing a way to make plans with friends to attend an event -- through Stories. By sharing an event in Facebook Stories, users can message other friends interested in the event to make plans to attend together.
Social Media

A quick swipe will soon let you keep bingeing YouTube on mobile devices

The YouTube mobile app has a new, faster way to browse: Swiping. Once the update rolls out, users can swipe to go to the next (or previous) video in the recommended list, even while viewing in full screen.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.
Social Media

YouTube to crack down on dangerous stunts like the ‘Bird Box’ challenge

YouTube already bans content showing dangerous activities, but new rules published by the site go into greater detail regarding potentially harmful challenges and pranks, including certain blindfold- or laundry detergent-based stunts.