Brad Pitt is now on China's version of Twitter, and his first enigmatic tweet drew thousands of comments. Just as mysteriously, it later disappeared.
The actor's verified Sina Weibo account sent the message on Monday: "It is the truth. Yup, I'm coming." That was forwarded more than 31,000 times and netted over 14,000 comments, many expressing surprise. He gathered more than 100,000 followers. But by Tuesday morning the tweet had disappeared, and a standard message read "He hasn't tweeted yet." The number of his followers kept growing, however.
It was unclear whether the deletion was the work of Pitt and his PR team or Chinese censors. Chinese censors regularly delete tweets and even accounts that they deem sensitive. The government requires Sina and other Internet companies to do this in-house at their own cost, under threat of fines and shutdowns if they fail.
A request for comment from Pitt's manager was not immediately answered.
The IMDb.com movie website says Pitt was banned from ever entering China because of his role in the 1997 Seven Years in Tibet. The government was upset about the film's portrayal of harsh Chinese rule in Tibet. His later film Mr. & Mrs. Smith with Angelina Jolie was popular in China.
Pop and movie stars use Weibo as a way to connect with the giant Chinese market. To get a certified account overseas celebrities have to submit copies of their ID and job evidence among other documents.
Tom Cruise joined Sina Weibo in 2011 and now has over 5 million followers. Former NBA star Stephon Marbury who now plays for China's professional basketball league is prolific on Weibo and has over 779,000 followers.
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