Wednesday, April 8, 2020

China complains on Twitter and Facebook closures

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Zubair Yaqoob
Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at wnobserver.com He can be reached at: [email protected]

China is facing Twitter and Facebook accounts blocking after criticism on protests in Hong Kong. Chinese citizens and students living abroad have the right to present their views on things, said Geng Shuan, Foreign Ministry spokesman in Beijing on Tuesday, without naming the US corporations. “People, of course, judge for themselves what is happening in Hong Kong and what the truth is.” One also has to ask why China’s official account in the media should be negative or false.

Twitter and Facebook had allegedly cracked down groups that were supposed to undermine demonstrations in Hong Kong with government support from China. Almost 1000 very active accounts were blocked and another 200,000 blocked as a precaution, Twitter had declared on Monday. Facebook announced that after a note, several pages and accounts were deleted from the company.

Twitter had declared on Monday to have uncovered a “state-backed” information campaign against the protest movement. Many user accounts have been “coordinated” to spread messages about the protests in Hong Kong.

Twitter blocked in China

Facebook said that, following a hint from Twitter, it blocked several pages, groups and user accounts with connections to China. With “deception tactics” such as false user accounts messages have been spread to Hong Kong, said Facebook online safety yeast Nathaniel Gleicher. Research has shown that there are links between the authors and the Chinese government.

According to Geng, Chinese media use foreign social networks to connect with people around the world. However, this is a one-way street: While Twitter and Facebook are freely available in Hong Kong, the Chinese government blocks the services on the mainland. According to the short message service, however, virtual private networks would be used to disguise the actual location of the user.

On the other hand, UK is concerned about a suspected arrest of an employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong. “We are extremely concerned about reports that a member of our team was arrested on his return from Shenzhen to Hong Kong,” the British Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

According to the local media of Hong Kong,  the British consulate employee had not returned from a visit to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in early August. The British government called on the Chinese authorities to clarify the case.

In Hong Kong, there have been mass demonstrations for weeks of democracy and Beijing’s growing influence. The Chinese government has threatened the demonstrators in the Special Administrative Region ever more blatantly. The country linked the demonstrators with “terrorism” and sent troops to the border. Meanwhile, there is growing concern about a Chinese military operation.

Read also: Twitter, Facebook accuses China of using fake accounts

Zubair Yaqoob
Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at wnobserver.com He can be reached at: [email protected]

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