Sina Weibo, a popular social media platform in China, plays a crucial role in crisis communication. During the 2018 Shouguang flood, the public criticized the government’s delayed, insufficient, and inaccurate information on Weibo, leading to tension between the public and the government. We interviewed 33 Weibo users to understand their experiences in challenging the government’s flood-related information. Key areas of contention included the timing of information release, the portrayal of the crisis, and the government’s role as the primary crisis manager. When the government’s information fails to meet public expectations, it can lead to online discussions that undermine trust. This article delves into theterritory of crisis communication by examining how public online debates evolve in a state-controlled online setting, specifically in China. We propose that diverse interpretations of crisis information serve as a tool to enhance collective crisis response, thereby reducing conflicts among stakeholders.
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