The inefficient internet governance on Instagram and Weibo

The Internet Society releases two new reports on national Internet governance arrangements during a press conference held at the 7th IGF meeting in Baku.The reports provide findings from the first nat” by InternetSociety is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.


With the people’s standard of living rising, there is a growing trend of people using social platforms to maintain relationships. In the past several decades, Internet governance has played a significant role in the maintenance of network order. However, there is a heated debate about whether Internet governance is efficient. A lot of people believe that governance networks are not in place during their governance practices.  For example, Musk massively overhauled 70% of his internal staff from the content review department when he bought Twitter in 2022. (Gillespie, 2018) This proved that there was a huge issue with the Internet’s moderation at the time. The overall goal of this essay is to explore the insufficiently efficient network governance of Instagram and Weibo.

Instagram’s Inefficient Internet governance

No specific criteria

The major manifestation of insufficiently effective network governance on Instagram is moderation has no specific criteria. Gillespie (2018) has demonstrated that moderation requires platforms to both protect the rights of the platforms and make inappropriate online content disappear. This illustrated that moderation is a lot of work. Instagram has a huge number of users, so it cannot always accommodate every user. There is more information than the users when it comes to reviewing published content because one user will post many messages online. In addition, Gillespie (2018) has also pointed out that establishing and implementing a content censorship system is difficult. The network censors are lost, because they do not know whose standards to base their rules on. For example, the public debate on platform regulation has been divided between those who consider social media platforms too permissive and those who consider them too restrictive. Those who think the platform is too permissive point out that there are always obscene images, racial hatred, and animal cruelty on the platform. On the other hand, legitimate material that people with overly strict platforms find controversial is removed. They supposed that it is unfair to remove information that should have been in the network in the first place. A typical example is that Instagram has stopped deleting images of breastfeeding due to condemnation from artists, activists, and celebrities. (Are, 2022) However, nudity on the platform is still considered problematic without specific government standards to implement. So, it can be seen that there are still conflicting and controversial messages about posting nudity on Instagram. There is no way for the platform to give reasonable solutions and establish a reasonable censorship system for these two extreme perspectives. Moderation cannot be implemented efficiently due to the lack of a reasonable and clear management system for the platform. Therefore, complex moderation may lead to poor network supervision.

Deleting users’ accounts

The second manifestation of insufficiently effective network governance on Instagram is Instagram has a means of automatically deleting user accounts in a serious way. Are (2023) has stated that Instagram’s solution to automatically delete user accounts measures can lead to having the wrong content and accounts deleted. For example, Instagram was supposed to restrict users from posting nudity or sexual behavior. However, Are who is a user of Instagram posted a sexy dance video of a pole dancer was deleted by Instagram without warning. Therefore, It is very difficult for users to get their accounts back and for them to communicate with the platform. Moreover, Instagram deleting users’ accounts would cause losses to users, such as Are is not able to make money from Instagram and spreading the messages that he wants to post. This harshly inappropriate treatment by Instagram will lead to even worse results for their internet governance.

Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Confederationduring of the 12th Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). 18 December 2017. UN Photo/ Jean Marc Ferré

12th Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum” by UN Geneva is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Weibo’s inefficient Internet governance

Ineffective self-management

Compared to international communication platforms such as Instagram, China’s famous social software Weibo also shows a lack of sufficiently efficient network regulation. Jiang (2016) has made clear that RNR was finally introduced in December 2011 in Beijing Article 8 of the Regulations. Although Weibo has a legal requirement to establish a comprehensive content evaluation system, citizens’ failure to self-regulate could lead to ineffective regulation of Weibo. Jiang (2016) has also revealed that the ability of Weibo to govern at a distance depends heavily on user self-discipline. This suggests that the Chinese government has policies and ideas for government online regulation, but it is the users, not the government or the state, who are the dominant factor in determining the efficacy of regulation. It does not represent the success of long-distance regulation because self-regulation by Weibo users is variable. Therefore, citizen self-regulation of the Internet may lead to Internet regulation that is just an empty form without substance. Furthermore, Jiang (2016) has reported that the significance of Internet companies in mediating negotiations between states and users was also emphasized. This means a range of organizations that profit from social media, such as web companies, have a crucial place in Weibo’s Internet governance. The second manifestation of insufficiently effective network governance in Weibo is network stakeholder disruption. Flew (2023) had drawn attention to the fact that the key stakeholders in the web are the advertisers who need to be constantly persuaded to place content on these platforms. It can be seen that advertisers and media companies can constantly adapt the content of the information published on the platform to their own interests. In the face of their interests, they do not scrutinize the content to see if it is reasonable, thus invalidating the moderation of the entire online platform. These online beneficiaries do not serve the same purpose as the Weibo platform, so online advertisers can cause problems for Weibo’s internet governance.

Clogging—-Tianjin Harbor Explosion of 2015(example)

God bless Tianjin #tianjin #explosion #prayfortianjin” by kaysha is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Besides that, Weibo categorizes the content of messages, and hiding them would lead to clogging. The third manifestation of insufficiently effective network governance in Weibo is cyber regulation could lead to clogged networks. Information on the web is unfairly deleted, leading to more presentation of other information. The Tianjin Harbor Explosion of 2015 is a case in point. Arai (2018) has noted that Weibo has temporarily withdrawn its post on the Tianjin Port explosion for fear of causing panic among the public leading to outrage from citizens of online platforms. This solution does not address the root cause of the problem because the explosion is a fact that cannot be erased. Weibo users have been criticizing the way Weibo does and users have been posting more explosive comments and ideas like this, causing the Weibo system to go haywire. Internet governance was originally designed to work as a platform for better socialization, but now it is creating more problems. As a result, administrators need to spend more time on more work which puts more pressure on these internet administrators. 


To sum up, both Instagram and Weibo have inefficient network management. Instagram’s main focus is on the lack of a standardized network management system and the harsh system of deleting accounts. Weibo is characterized by a lack of self-management, disruption of the network by web companies, and clogging of the network due to unequal deletion of information. Webmasters of both Instagram and Weibo need to strengthen the implementation of web governance in order to give their users the best online communication experience and to bring easier solutions to their own management. Both Instagram and Weibo should find more appropriate internet governance measures and standards.

Reference list

Gillespie, (2018). All Platforms Moderate. In Custodians of the Internet : Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions That Shape Social Media  (pp. 1–23). Yale University Press.

  Jiang, M. (2016). Managing the micro-self: the governmentality of real name registration policy in Chinese microblogosphere. Information, Communication & Society, 19(2), 203–220.

 Flew, T. (2023). “Too much” and “too little” content moderation: Internet governance as a case study in advanced liberal modes of government. Centre for the Study of Governance & Society, Public Lecture Series, Kings College London.

  Are, C. (2022). The Shadowban Cycle: an autoethnography of pole dancing, nudity and censorship on Instagram. Feminist Media Studies, 22(8), 2002–2019.

  Arai, K., Kapoor, S., & Bhatia, R. (2018). Public Opinion Analysis of Emergency on Weibo Based on Improved CSIM: The Case of Tianjin Port Explosion. In Intelligent Systems and Applications (Vol. 868, pp. 973–997). Springer International Publishing AG.

  Are, C. (2023). An autoethnography of automated powerlessness: lacking platform affordances in Instagram and TikTok account deletions. Media, Culture & Society, 45(4), 822–840.