TechCrunch: WeChat Censors Users Ahead of China’s National Party Congress

China’s leaders are convening for the National Congress, held every five years for outlining policy priorities, and government censors are taking no risks. The goal is to prevent internal protests or external disruptions from outside trolls who used social-media messages to influence the 2016 US election. Posting anonymous content is banned in China, and social-media platforms WeChat and Weibo will crack down on people trying to mask their identities. “WeChat, China’s top messaging app with more than 800 million registered users, has prevented its users from changing their nickname, profile photo or tagline until the end of October,” reports Jon Russell for TechCrunch. “It may seem subtle, but it is a move to prevent the spread of political ideas and opinions that Beijing would prefer kept silent through user profiles and alias updates, a common form of expression that reaches beyond a single conversation.” Other censorship moves include blocking specific words related to sensitive agenda items. Self-censorship won’t be as easy for this 19th Congress: WeChat removed a setting informing users when a censored word was typed. The country continues to place limits on use of VPNs or virtual private networks that curtail monitoring. – YaleGlobal

TechCrunch: WeChat Censors Users Ahead of China’s National Party Congress

As leaders convene for China’s 19th National Congress, the censors take no risks and prevent users from changing or masking their identities
Jon Russell
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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Jon Russell is an Asia-based writer for TechCrunch. Formerly he was an Asia editor for The Next Web. He is based in Bangkok, Thailand.

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