Americans are demanding tech companies censor the internet, and China is loving it.
Facebook agreed Monday to join Google and crack down on “fake” news by cutting funding from advertisements for creators of content deemed questionable. This comes in response to accusations that phony news stories on Facebook, Google and Twitter helped swing the election for President-elect Donald Trump.
The shocking move is receiving praise in one of the “worst abusers of internet freedom.”
The 3rd World Internet Conference is currently taking place in Wuzhen, China. The censoring of America’s internet surfaced as a topic at the meeting, revealed the Washington Post Thursday.
The nature of America’s internet made Trump’s rise “inevitable,” explained Robin Li, the founder of Baidu, commonly referred to as China’s Google.
“I don’t think anybody knows why Trump won, but it’s a good move that the U.S. is trying to regulate social media; it’s overdue,” said Kam Chow Wong, a former Hong Kong police officer, told the Washington Post. “If you regulate in an appropriate manner, it will make it more useful, then it will be more free.”
Cyber terrorism on social media was identified as the cause of the 2014 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
China actually launched a campaign against “fake” news in July. “It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” the Cyberspace Administration of China introduced in an official statement on the matter.
“All levels of the cyberspace administration must earnestly fulfill their management responsibility for internet content, strengthen supervision and investigation, severely probe and handle fake and unfactual news,” the administration added.
China ranked dead last on Freedom House’s internet freedom list. “A criminal law amendment added seven-year prison terms for spreading rumors on social media,” the related report explained.
Freedom House noted that the law is “often used against those who criticize the authorities.” China has been listed as the “worst abuser of internet freedom” for two years in a row.
The “Great Firewall” is used to control what China’s 700 million internet users can see and access online. The World Internet Conference advocates a Chinese vision for the internet, which emphasizes “cyber sovereignty” over a free, borderless internet. China asserts that each country can use the internet as it sees fit without interference from a third party.
China hires censors to patrol its social media platforms, such as Weibo and WeChat. Unrestricted platforms like Facebook and Twitter have all been banned in China.
The U.S. regularly criticizes China’s censorship efforts, calling them human rights violations, specifically violations of freedom of expression.
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