Saturday, August 1, 2009

No Social Media in China

Since riots broke out in Xinjiang province in early July Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been completely shut down from within China. However during the last week reports have also started filtering out of China that Chinese Social Media sites such as Fanfou, Digu and Jiwai have now also been shut down. It seems that the Chinese authorities have massively extended their crackdown on all Social Media both domestic and international.

This is a major development in Chinese censorship and represents the first time that there has been a full order to censors both Western and Chinese sites. A Shanghai-based digital analyst has commented that the cause of the shut downs is still completely unknown. While it has become common practise for the Chinese government to operate shut-downs during politically sensitive times and events, there is nothing specific coming up. The last major Social Media shut-down was seen in the lead up to the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square riots.

In good news, Tim Haynes general manager of Starcom IP China, said "Despite the censorship efforts, Chinese netizens have discovered alternative methods of accessing sites such as Twitter. There are always alternative avenues to be found to access these sites. As soon as someone puts a wall or barricade around them, there’s always a way around it."

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