New attributes in Sina Weibo API’s V2

Sina released a second version of their API about a month ago. It’s good to mention that we have moved some of our crawling scripts along to V2.

Of our interest, the status entity now had the following new attributes that can be used:

  • reposts_count
  • comments_count
  • mlevel

The first two are self-explanatory. The third probably means “maturity level”. We’re happy to get the first two and think it was about time that Sina start giving us exact numbers. To their defense, repost (and comment) numbers on Sina Weibo are much much higher than on Twitter, because status entities are much better preserved on Sina (on Twitter, those attention hoggers just keep re-writing posts to include their names).

  • allow_all_comment
  • avatar_large
  • verified_reason
  • bi_followers_count
  • verified_type
  • lang

It’s to be noted that the last two, verified_type and lang, were not documented yet, and I saw them just this afternoon (and promptly made it be reflected on our scripts). They are self-explanatory. Unlike for Twitter, Sina verification can be of several levels. My Weibo account is “verified”, but just because I was verified to be a JMSC employee (not because I am famous, bah). There are corpo accounts that get a different kind of verification, and there are probably others that I’m not certain about (power users?). “lang” is very interesting. We have mobile clients in English; we have Web interfaces in Traditional (for Taiwan) and Simplified Chinese (for the mainland). So, is Sina really preparing international versions?

***

After several e-mails from the audience, we do acknowledge that we also faced some auth problems, but were also lucky to have started the project early, such we don’t face some of the other problems (such as the need to specify in the devapp whether we are foreigners). I don’t know if it has anything to do with the rate limits you end up getting.

We’ve also had a few problems with the friendship (friends / followers) functions in V1. Those are still there in V2. Namely, the site won’t work with just OAuth. You also had to have cookies (thus a Web browser accessing the API URL, while signed on your Sina account). If you see some inconsistencies, feel free to e-mail us.

We’re submitting our social media project final report this week. So, expect in the next weeks (not months, I hope) that we release the tools we developed in the wild pretty soon. Some of them are already up on our GitHub.

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