User data stolen from Weibo, prompting Chinese regulatory probe

The personal data of 538 million users of China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo is apparently for sale online (in Chinese). The price tag for the data? Just 1,799 yuan ($238) to buy the names, Weibo IDs, numbers of followers and posts, genders, locations, and contact numbers of the 538 million users. 

Amid public outcry over the massive data breach, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) called Weibo’s representatives and demanded that Weibo improve data security (see also MIIT statement, in Chinese). 

Weibo lodged a police complaint regarding the theft, and urged users to use different passwords for other platforms to boost security. Weibo also stated (in Chinese) its commitment to improving the platform’s security. Yet many feel that the platform downplayed its role in the theft by suggesting that poor user security was to blame.