The Wu Yifan incident has become a hot spot on the Internet recently. The responses and “war of words” from multiple parties have also been screened for many days.
“The hot searches on Weibo these days are all about him,” said Wang Meiqi, a white-collar worker in Shanghai. “Even the news of heavy rain in Henan ranks behind.”
This is true. On July 22, “Finance” E-method opened the Weibo entertainment list, and “Wu Yifan Studio Explanation” was the top spot for donation news that overwhelmed many celebrities.
A cursory glance at the 356,000 comments on the statement as of noon that day, Feng Xiang almost blamed the star on one side, but at the same time the statement received 8.87 million praises.
Wang Meiqi did not understand why this “splitting” occurred. “I doubt the authenticity of this number of likes,” she said.
Similar situations are not new. Almost all Weibo senior users interviewed agreed that “the frequency of hot searches on entertainment events is too high.”
“Except for some major events, the hot searches on Weibo are basically dominated by jokes from entertainment stars,” said Li Mingliang, an IT engineer in Beijing. “So it’s usually a joke.”
The recent heavy rains in Henan have touched people’s hearts, and the hot searches on Weibo focused on flooding and other information. Except for such major emergencies, many interviewees complained about hot searches as a “celebrity gathering place”. Entertainment content such as “a celebrity has lost weight again” and “a celebrity insists on filming at high temperature” is not uncommon. .
As the main channel for a considerable number of netizens to obtain information, why does this phenomenon occur in the hot search on Weibo?
1. “Officially certified” business
When I saw “Kinder” in a coffee shop, the former publicity director of a well-known brokerage company was applying makeup to himself.
“There are a lot of people I want to see every day,” she said, “makeup can’t be spent.” This is quite a “Versailles” prologue, which attracted the attention of several customers.
For nearly five years of publicity work for a “quasi-first-line” artist, Kinder has dealt with countless third-party “browsing” companies. In her opinion, the Weibo hot search list is “more commercial than what the official said.”
“You and I both live in the information sacks knitted by the capital, it is difficult to get out.” She said astonishingly, “What you can see, it doesn’t matter if you say it yourself.”
According to Kinder, the hot search on Weibo can definitely be “swiped”. There are two main channels: one is to directly talk to the official Weibo to discuss business cooperation (the third and sixth on the hot search list are fixed advertising spots) , and the second is to find Third-party reviewing companies that are familiar with Weibo algorithms have “brushed” up the popularity.
“Generally speaking, artists seldom directly buy fixed advertising space. Either entrust a third party to scan the list, or establish a long-term cooperation mechanism with Weibo to obtain some’conveniences’ for being listed.” Kinder said.
This information is confirmed from the side. Caijing’s E method called the official business cooperation number of Weibo, and the other party made it clear that the price of the third item in the hot search list is 1.4 million yuan per day, and the price of the sixth item is 1.2 million yuan per day.
However, an employee of the “Browsing List” company who did not want to be named told Caijing E Law that there are several fixed advertising spots in the hot search “belonging to hard advertising, and the word “recommended” will be followed. In addition, there are also Some invisible advertising spaces are soft and broad without the word’recommendation'”.
“The official publication price is just a number, and no one will really buy it at this price-because everyone buys related services in packages, the actual transaction price is generally cheaper.” The industry insider said, “So, there are so many people who can afford it.”
In 2017, Kinder began to be responsible for contacting Weibo officials and third-party ranking companies.
The advantage of looking for official channels is that the ranking is more stable than looking for third-party companies. “You say which place you rank is the number one.” And the time of listing is also more certain. “Generally, the ranking is based on the day. Will move”.
But Kinder also pointed out that Weibo will also have corresponding policies for some long-term “big customers”.
Kinder said that Weibo Hot Search itself has a complex algorithmic mechanism, “There are many dimensions, including topic discussion volume, search volume, the distribution of accounts with different weight levels under a single topic, the gender and geographical distribution of participating accounts, mobile and PC. There are currently hundreds of natural heat ratios, mobile phone operating systems, and model distribution.”
What role does such a complicated algorithm play?
Kinder said that the most important thing is to ensure the quality of hot searches and prevent third-party companies from “swiping hot searches.” In addition, there is also a department responsible for manual review of hot search topics, “and manual review is the last word.” This makes the criteria for topic adoption “flexible”.
“When manual editors review the words, they will comprehensively refer to the feedback and suggestions of the marketing department, and’flexibly set standards’ for some artists or brands that have cooperated with Weibo. It depends on the reviewer in the end if they fail.” Kinder said.
For such partners, Weibo will often provide support for topics and hot search pools. Those celebrities who have established “deep cooperation” with Weibo will put the corresponding topics in the “hot search pool” on Weibo, “But whether they can be on the list or have better traffic in the end depends on the set of algorithm mechanisms. “
“That’s why, no matter what some artists do, they are especially easy to be searched.” Kinder said bluntly.
A former Sina employee said that some top-tier celebrities’ news was “relatively less affected by algorithms”, but he did not disclose more relevant information.
“I teach you a way to identify whether the hot search is a human operation,” the aforementioned industry insider told Caijing E Law, ” If it is a spontaneous hot search, the title at the beginning of the fermentation is relatively short, and it may contain one or two. Keywords; those hot search headlines that feel particularly long and awkward when you read them, and the host of a specific topic appears quickly, are generally pushed. Another, the popularity gradually rises over time, the amount of discussion and the amount of reading The ones that are higher are often searched naturally, and vice versa, they are more likely to be bought .”
2. Third parties become mainstream
However, there are also problems with directly looking for official cooperation: First, the price is high, and there are obvious hints on the hot search list that the content of the advertisement or the word “recommend” may affect the click.
Third-party companies (including the celebrity’s own ranking team) have become the second choice for “swiping rankings”. These companies all have a huge number of Weibo IDs and a large number of big V and gold V accounts.
Generally speaking, the operation process of this mode is: when operating a topic, usually 3 to 4 big Vs and hundreds of golden Vs jointly open the topic for discussion, which is usually called “with rhythm”; Real-person Weibo ID enters the venue to forward, like, comment and recommend. According to customer needs, advanced “incremental” comments, topic check-in and reading will be carried out, and all of these are aimed at attracting a large number of Weibo “passenger” users, which fits the Weibo algorithm to form a hot search; finally, if it is not attracted With enough “passerby” accounts, third-party companies will choose to rely on a large number of passerby accounts they usually maintain to increase the number of searches and comments to achieve the purpose of popular searches.
“All of this is to fit the increasingly complex Weibo algorithm. Only by doing this can the probability of getting on the hot search be high.” The employee of the aforementioned “swiping list” company said to the “Caijing” E law, because Weibo is constantly updating its The algorithm mechanism, the dimension of the algorithm is increased, the calculation method is becoming more and more complicated, and the cost of refreshing data is getting higher and higher, so the charging standards of third-party companies are also rising.
The E law of Caijing has successively contacted several third-party ranking companies as an artist agency. The other party stated that the collection of related fees can be divided into two parts.
The first part is the cost of “Chong Hot Search”. This part can be further divided into “Hot Search Fees” and “Number Issuing Fees” for all major V numbers.
Why is it so divided?
“This is because if there are not many big V belt rhythms, it is impossible to form a hot search.” Another employee of the “Brushing List” company who did not want to be named said, “And each big V will charge a fee based on the number of fans, and the more fans The more you need, the more you need. The “number issuance fee” is generally divided by the third-party company and the major Vs in proportion; as for the hot search fee, it is a separate fee that is completely paid to the third-party company after the hot search .”
In a quotation for “number issuance fee” provided by a third-party company, many well-known Weibo big Vs and even some media are listed among them. For some big V accounts with tens of millions of fans, the individual quotations for direct posting or forwarding of topical copy are around 3,500 to 7,000 yuan, and some top-ranking big V accounts can quote up to 30,000 to 40,000, and they require cash. Settlement.
A part of the big V’s quotation provided by a third-party scoring company
“Hot search fees” will form a range according to the different rankings on the list. For example, a quotation provided by a third-party company shows that the normal listing time is about 30 minutes to 24 hours, but the listing time is not guaranteed. The listing is counted and charged according to the ranking. If you get to the top ten in the hot search, the fee will be 25,000; if you get to the top 20, the fee will be 20,000; the top 30 will be charged 18,000, and so on.
Another company’s quotation shows that if the top 5 in the hot search is charged 88,000, 5 to 10 are 68,000, 10 to 20 are 58,000, 20 to 30 are 48,000, and so on.
According to Kinder, the difference in fees is mainly due to the difference in the success rate on the list : “Some famous third-party companies have a lot of resources, and they can basically succeed in finding them, and the fees are naturally high.”
Many companies have stated to the “Finance” E law that if the hot search is not successful, the “hot search fee” will not be charged, but only the “number issuance fee” will be charged. However, many practitioners also vowed to say that “basically it can be achieved”, “90% probability can be achieved”, and “we have operated, and there is no one that cannot be accessed.”
For most customers, “rushing to the hot search” only completed half of the task. How to “maintain” this hot search and forming an agglomeration effect is even more important.
The second part of the charge is the “maintenance fee”, which means to maintain traffic and topics and prevent them from “falling off the hot search list.” This requires real people to keep forwarding, commenting, and liking. According to a company’s quotation, real-time forwarding, comments and likes are 1.8 yuan per piece, and the real-time Shuijun directly sends 20 yuan per piece of advanced forwarded comments (that is, forwarded comments with incremental content) 40 yuan per piece, daily, Yesterday reading (monthly subscription) 100 yuan/100,000 articles, 150 yuan/500,000 articles, 200 yuan/1 million articles, every 12 yuan/100 high-level likes (emoji likes) .
Details of the “maintenance fee” provided by a third-party company for hot searches on Weibo
Of course, in actual operations, customers often choose to “package” all the above-mentioned businesses except for “Hot Search Fees” in order to obtain preferential prices.
For example, a quotation from another company shows that a package with a total price of 50,000 yuan includes 1,000 people in the square in real time, 1,000 amateurs, writing related copywriting, coordinating topics, highlighting program content, increasing topic exposure, etc. In addition, there are 320 Weibo marketing queens (including 40 golden Vs) jointly create momentum, and also include news media push (if there is a public relations manuscript, you can push 50 online media and 200 entertainment forums for free) ; and the total price is 20,000 For the package, there are only 500 real-time people in the square, 500 amateurs, and 50 Weibo marketing queens (including 5 gold Vs) to create momentum.
3. Hot search, public opinion or business?
In fact, the commercial operation of Weibo Hot Search has long been a secret.
Previously, Weibo had been punished by relevant authorities twice for hot search issues.
On January 27, 2018, due to the hot search for PG-ONE fans to retaliate against the official Weibo account of Ziguangge magazine, the Weibo platform failed to censor the illegal information, and continued to spread misguided hype, vulgar pornography, and ethnic discrimination. For serious problems such as illegal and harmful information, the hot search list and topic list were ordered to be taken offline for rectification for one week.
In June 2020, Weibo was ordered to rectify and suspend the update of the Weibo hot search list and the hot topic list for a week due to interference with the order of online dissemination and the dissemination of illegal and illegal information during the Ali Jiang Fan public opinion incident.
In fact, Weibo has also put forward rectification measures against the phenomenon of “swiping the list”.
In May 2018, Weibo issued an announcement stating that it will step up efforts to deal with the behavior of scouring the hot-search list and hot topics, and penalize the direct beneficiaries of the behavior. Jointly deal with hot topics and moderators, as well as search terms and targets with abnormal traffic.
Specific penalties include the names of related stars, programs, and events that brush the list, and they can no longer be on the hot topic list and hot search list for three months, and related accounts cannot host topics for three months.
According to Weibo, in order to ensure the authenticity and credibility of the hot search list and hot topic list, the product itself will be continuously upgraded and an anti-brush system based on big data recognition will be set up. The system will recognize and intercept the behaviors with cheating characteristics in real time.
This statement has also been confirmed by the statements made by many people in the industry mentioned above.
In addition, Weibo has also made it clear that Weibo does not provide any “hot search” services. The outside world claims that service providers that can provide services such as “hot search” are fraudulent, and it is recommended to be vigilant.
However, some practitioners who did not want to be named pointed out that “Hot Search” cannot be completely banned. In fact, similar rectification measures are “difficult to play their due role.” Except for the clearly marked advertising spaces, even if it is a “hot search” published by a third-party company, because many of the links are in the interests of Weibo, in general, Weibo “is just opening your eyes and closing your eyes.”
“Whether you bring a topic or a hot topic, it is in the interest of Weibo to get traffic,” Kinder said. “To put it bluntly, the motivation for people’s governance is not that sufficient.”
“After the Wu Yifan incident broke out, there was a “slaughtering list” for a certain period of time. However, it is not comprehensive to say that the entertainment content in the hot search reflects the real attention needs of the people. It can only be said that the hot search reflects some groups. , Especially the needs of the fan group.” Jin Mengyu, a professor and doctoral tutor at the School of Journalism of Communication University of China, believes that Hot Search is based on the technical support of machine intelligent distribution, behind which is driven by capital power, an industrial chain has been formed.
The upstream is the content chain represented by the platform side, the midstream is the capital chain represented by entertainment companies and marketing accounts, and the “buy hot search” belongs to the midstream capital chain, which is “what star teams often do”; the downstream is “eat The application chain represented by “Melon the masses”. This kind of industry chain is becoming more and more deformed, leading to serious “pan-entertainment” in the hot search list.
“If the traffic that celebrities buy with money is flooded, it will not only affect users’ right to know about finding objective and true hot news, but it is also possible that the platform may neglect to censor the hot search content for profit. Some bad information and excessively entertaining information will affect you. Young users have a negative impact on their physical and mental health, which also violates the “Law on the Protection of Minors,” and it is necessary to govern.” Gao Yandong, a researcher at the Zhejiang Provincial Institute of Public Policy, pointed out.
Many experts said that when users are used to viewing hot searches, the content of hot searches can potentially affect users’ psychology and behavior.
“Behind the hot search on Weibo is the algorithm of the platform. With the in-depth application of machine intelligence in the media platform and technological evolution, platform application functions such as hot search will unknowingly affect people’s cognitive framework and subconsciousness. Until it affects people’s behavior choices.” Jin Mengyu was a little worried.
In the interview, a third-party ranking company provided a “successful case” to the “Caijing” E law. This case was successfully implanted in the hot search topic # Parents said for you is ethical kidnapping? The relevance of the program and the topic triggers topic discussion, and guides users from the topic itself to the discussion of the stars in the program.
“It seems a simple topic, behind it may make you unconsciously accept indoctrination.” Kinder said.
“Finance” E Law noticed that in the latest “Henan Rainstorm Mutual Aid Super Talk”, there were frequent reposts of help and rescue messages, but Weibo with the name of the traffic star’s name appeared.
Netizen @冬亚发博 said, “Star chasers, please don’t use their idol’s super hot topics to post on Weibo for disaster relief… As a result, there are more and more spam in the relief information.”
Netizen @晓诺OVO also pointed out, “All kinds of copied information are in the super chat, and many of them have been resolved and are still changing. It is really annoying to these neuroses.”
Gao Yandong concluded that the essence of “buying hot search” is the performance of capital manipulation of public opinion, and it is also the direct cause of the pan-entertainment of hot search. The negative effects of the hot search industry chain are obvious. For example, it will cause hot search content to become vulgar, trigger a moral decline, increase the information cocoon effect, spread bad values, and affect the healthy development of the media industry.
4. How to keep hot search healthy?
Do Weibo Hot Searches have certain public attributes? In other words, should its subject matter and content introduce the dimension of “public order and good customs”?
Many experts gave a positive answer to this.
Jin Mengyu believes that “Hot Search” is an application function provided to users by the Weibo platform, which is consistent with the nature of Weibo that is open to a wide range of people and has public communication characteristics.
The difference is that “Hot Search” uses keywords and their associated technical features, and with the support of big data and machine intelligence technology, it recommends search hot words to users with strong relevance. The search behavior highlights the user’s positive and proactive information bias. A lot of information is inevitably mixed, and the value orientation lacks control. Some involve the re-dissemination of citizens’ personal privacy, and some involve content that is prohibited by law. Some information is used by the platform capital behind it to promote the dissemination of some medical information and false health brand information.
“Therefore, hot search as an application function related to the information content of the Weibo platform should undoubtedly be placed in the category of’information network content ecological governance’. The technical problem belongs to technology, and the’public order and good customs’ that it is related to and the hot search The content of the bad information should also be the responsibility of the platform.” Jin Mengyu said.
It is worth noting that in the past , Weibo was fined, often with “offline rectification” as the end. Jin Mengyu felt that the “offline rectification” punishment measures failed to grasp the crux of the problem, and the punishment method was delayed; the punishment was far from enough.
Jin Mengyu took the recent Wu Yifan incident as an example. He pointed out that Du Meizhu, one of the protagonists of the Wu Yifan incident, exposed that a certain marketing account was willing to “whitewash” Wu Yifan. Although it was subsequently denied by the marketing account, it still caused many netizens to crusade. It can be seen that the malformed ecological chain in the hot search list has caused public outrage to a certain extent.
He concluded that hot search is essentially a presentation of content. In terms of governance, it is first necessary to comply with the existing laws and regulations related to network content governance. The “Regulations on the Ecological Governance of Network Information Content” issued by the State Cyberspace Administration and the State Council The “Internet Information Service Management Measures” promulgated all make specific provisions on the production and management of Internet content.
“Of course, you can consider formulating special regulations similar to the “Hot Search Function Management Regulations”, so that the Internet platform should assume the main governance responsibility, not only for the content published by the platform, but also for the related content of the platform’s hot search application functions. “Jin Mengyu said, “But at present, it is mainly to guide the platform to govern independently.”
“This is also no way,” said Liu Junhai, a professor at Renmin University of China Law School. “The so-called’the law is not authorized and cannot be done’, after all, there is no basis for punishment, so the fine cannot be too heavy.”
Liu Junhai believes that to solve this problem, the first thing to do is to improve the relevant legal system. Platform self-discipline should be strengthened to improve compliance awareness; industry associations including the Internet Association and Performing Arts Association also need to strengthen self-discipline.
In addition, netizens should also participate in the discussion rationally, and all sectors of society can coordinate and govern together. You can consider setting up a “vulgar ranking list” and “bring out vulgar hot search topics for everyone to comment.”
Gao Yandong believes that the “offline rectification” is based on the concept of “inclusive and prudential supervision”, which gives the platform the opportunity to conduct self-correction and self-examination. The reason is that the first is to guide the platform to strengthen the supervision responsibility and realize the source governance, and the second is the insufficient supervision of the administrative department. There is no precedent for similar incidents. The platform rectification can best hit the key point and achieve “multiple co-governance.”
In his view, for the phenomenon of pan-entertainment, the model of “laws establishing the bottom line and platform raising the upper limit” should be implemented. First, the law should gradually clarify the bottom-line standards of content platforms, clarify government regulatory standards, strengthen supervision, and penalize the content that seriously disrupts the good ecology of the network by the competent authorities such as Internet and Information Technology according to their duties; second, the platform should continuously improve the level of content. It is necessary to urge opinion leaders to fulfill their social responsibilities so that Weibo influencers can play a better guiding role. It is also necessary to strengthen the content review mechanism to ensure that healthy content guides social value.
At press time, Caijing E could not reach Sina Weibo for comment.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/what-kind-of-business-is-the-hot-search-you-read-every-day/
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