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WeChat alleged of content censorship and blocking Canadian users

Author: Tom Blackwell, National Post (Canada), Published on: 9 December 2019

"Censored by a Chinese tech giant? Canadians using WeChat app say they're being blocked", 4 December 2019

As publisher of one of Canada’s few Chinese-language newspapers that dares to cover Beijing critically, Jack Jia feels he has a duty to give his readers balanced, skeptical reporting.

To that end, he tries to spread the reach of Chinese News by posting its articles on WeChat, the ubiquitous Chinese communications app used extensively by the diaspora here.

But that practice hit a sudden obstacle… when WeChat began restricting his use of the site, blocking access to his account and delivering an ominous message. Jia had been reported for “multiple instances of non-compliance,” it said.

He has been blocked three more times in recent weeks…

For six months, messages Jia posts in group chats have been invisible to users in China. And articles and other posts he puts on his WeChat Moments page, similar to a Facebook timeline, have been inaccessible even to people in Canada and the United States, he says.

WeChat’s censorship in China itself — a private-sector brick in the Great Firewall around the internet there — has been well-documented, but the publisher says he was stunned to find the app is now extending its tight control over content to this country, too.

His experience is not unique. Two other Chinese Canadians told the National Post of facing similar restrictions from WeChat, though none were told exactly why. An American activist began a White House petition calling for government help to counter the technology giant’s controls…

Tencent, the online behemoth that owns WeChat, did not respond directly to the allegations of censorshp, but stressed in a statement… that it complies with local laws in the markets it operates…

[Also referred to Weixin]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Tencent