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Travel Twitter closes Chinese accounts, Zoom accesses requests from Beijing

18:45  12 june  2020
18:45  12 june  2020 Source:   lexpress.fr

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Zoom , the wildly successful video chat service that has been a ubiquitous feature of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, said that it shut down three accounts at the request of the Chinese government for holding memorials for the victims of China ’s violent suppression of peaceful protests at Tiananmen

Teleconferencing company Zoom acknowledged it shut down the accounts of several activists and The host accounts for the gatherings were then suspended. " Zoom does not currently have the ability to In the letter, lawmakers asked which Chinese laws mandated that the company suspend the

Friday, Twitter announced that it had deactivated a "core" of 23,750 accounts linked to China and relayed by some 150,000 other accounts serving as "amplifiers".

L'icone de l'application Twitter sur un smartphone (illustration) © afp.com/Denis Charlet The Twitter application icon on a smartphone (illustration)

The American social network Twitter will close tens of thousands of propaganda and disinformation accounts linked to the Chinese government, his compatriot Zoom , on the other hand, acknowledges having acceded to requests from Beijing to suspend accounts of human rights defenders in the United States and Hong Kong. Twitter, like YouTube, Google and Facebook, is banned in China, which has a "Great Computer Wall" to block unwanted content. But Chinese diplomats and state media are flooding these message platforms.

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Zoom suspends Chinese individuals users from hosting meetings due to ‘regulatory demand’. Shanghai Huawan Telecommunications, another Chinese partner of Zoom which runs the website Zoomvideo.cn, only allows The company didn’t immediately reply to an email requesting comments.

Large masses of protestors brave the rain as they gather in Victoria Park to demonstrate in favour of democracy in Hong Kong. The gathering is the latest in a series of protests amid continued unrest over the city's relationship with mainland China .

On Friday, Twitter announced that it had deactivated a "core" of 23,750 accounts linked to China and relayed by some 150,000 other accounts serving as "amplifiers". The contents have been saved for scientific research. The network was discovered with tools put in place in August to wipe out accounts linked to Beijing during pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

This network published tweets, mainly in Chinese and probably intended for the diaspora, "diffusing geopolitical theories favorable to the Chinese Communist Party, while supporting misleading theories on the political dynamics in Hong Kong", explains Twitter in a note of analysis.

"A lack of authenticity and coordination"

These thousands of accounts have also served to promote Beijing's views on the fight against the coronavirus, then anti-racist demonstrations in the United States to "create the perception of moral equivalence with the suppression of the demonstrations in Hong Kong ", according to the Australian think tank Aspi (Australian Strategic Policy Institute) which analyzed them.

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Twitter Inc. removed hundreds of accounts linked to the Chinese government this week meant to undermine the legitimacy of Hong Kong protests. Some of the accounts accessed Twitter from unblocked IP addresses within mainland China , it said, suggesting the state condoned their activities.

Zoom , the videoconferencing giant that’s been both hero and villain of the coronavirus age, sends user data to China , according to researchers. Zoom has numerous connections back to China . CEO Yuan was born in Shandong Province and attended university there, though he came to America in

READ ALSO >> Raphaël Grably: Zoom and Snapchat syndrome

"While the Chinese Communist Party does not authorize the Chinese people to use Twitter, our analysis shows that it does not hesitate to use it to spread propaganda and misinformation at an international level, "said an Aspi official, Fergus Hanson. Most of the tweets were written during Chinese business hours, especially on weekdays, which "clearly suggests a lack of authenticity and coordination," according to Aspi.

In May, Twitter posted a warning to verify the facts on a tweet from a Chinese government spokesperson taking up a conspiracy thesis that the US military may have introduced the new coronavirus in China.

7,340 accounts linked to Turkey, closed

This massive deletion of accounts constitutes the second offensive in one year by American technology companies to counter networks of influence attributed to the Chinese government. In August 2019, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have already deleted thousands of accounts to counter a vast campaign by Chinese authorities to discredit the pro-democracy mobilization in Hong Kong. The Chinese foreign ministry said it was "unaware of the situation."

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FYI - Zoom has a local player operating as its intermediary and all the clients of Zoom in China were instructed to move the communications to the local player. Let’s not fool ourselves. There are always solutions and most of them are being sold by Chinese companies legally operating in China .

Zoom disabled the accounts of a group of Chinese dissidents in the US after they used its video conference service to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre. Beijing has always sought to quell discussion of the Tiananmen Square massacre, although previously focused on its own territory.

In its announcement on Friday, Twitter added that it had closed 7,340 accounts linked to Turkey, a network detected in early 2020 and mainly devoted, according to him, to the promotion of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling party, and 1,152 linked to Russia. who promoted the ruling party and attacked its critics.

READ ALSO >> The Aix-Marseille academy bans American tools Zoom and Discord in schools

The attitude adopted by Western platforms towards the actions and requirements of authoritarian governments, whose countries also represent major markets, raises increasingly pressing questions. The Zoom video conference application, popularized during the confinement linked to the coronavirus, thus finds itself at the heart of concerns for freedom of expression.

Human rights

Thursday evening, the Californian company admitted having acceded to requests from Beijing to close three accounts of important human rights activists in the United States and in Kong Kong who wanted to commemorate the murderous repression Chinese government in Tiananmen against pro-democracy protests in June 1989, a taboo episode in China.

For Zoom, this response "was a failure" and "should not have reached users outside of mainland China". The accounts have been reactivated and Zoom provides tools to comply only in their countries with government requests to stop activities they consider illegal. "Zoom will not allow Chinese government demands to have an impact on anyone outside of mainland China," he said.

Return of the coronavirus: more than a thousand flights canceled to and from Beijing .
The Chinese authorities have urged residents to avoid "non-essential" travel outside Beijing, affected by a new wave of contamination. © afp.com/Noel Celis Several cities and provinces now impose a quarantine on arrival for travelers from the Chinese capital. The two Beijing airports canceled more than a thousand flights on Wednesday after a rebound of Covid-19 cases in the Chinese capital, official media said. At 9:10 a.m.

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