Video: Battle of the Weibo Bots

The Great LOL of China, made in conjunction with Asia Society's China Learning Initiatives, is a bilingual video series starring Beijing-based American comedian Jesse Appell. The bi-weekly episodes aim to highlight unique aspects of Chinese culture and society through comedy.

In this week's episode, Jesse discusses the cat-and-mouse game between China's Weibo microblogging platform and the fake "bot" followers that infest it. In spite of deploying its own bot security force, Weibo always lags one step behind as the spambots use linguistic countermeasures to avoid detection. Frustrated by all the fake followers his show has attracted, Jesse takes to the streets to persuade real flesh-and-blood Beijingers to become his fans.