Google and Facebook making money off of prostitution

Google and Facebook making money off of prostitution


Source: John D McHugh/ AFP

Lawmakers in the UK are looking at a potential law that will require online platforms like Facebook and Google to take more responsibility for the content shown on their platforms. The calls for the change in law have come after it came out that both Google and Facebook have been making money off advertisements for pop-up brothels.

What makes this whole sordid affair even worse, is that a number of the brothels that have been advertising on the Google and Facebook have been found to be involved in human trafficking and the exploitation of sex-workers.

A similar bill is being pushed through US Congress that targets internet firms that, “knowingly assist, support or facilitate” content that leads to trafficking. In particular, the US bill is designed to tackle sites like that are packed with sex ads, many of them trafficked women or teenage runaways.

If laws on both sides of the Atlantic come into force, it’ll mean the web giants will no longer be able to turn a blind eye to the types of content and services advertised on their platforms.


US tax reform breaks global rules, EU says

European finance ministers are worried. They say the US’s big tax reform bill contains measures that would unfairly disadvantage European business and contravene global fair-taxation rules. Are they right?

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Getty Images/A. Wong)

Last week, the finance ministers of Europe’s five biggest economies — Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy — wrote an anxious letter to their American colleague, US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, and copied it to all senior Republican politicians in the Congress and Senate.

The letter’s thrust: The draft US tax bill, if passed as written a week ago, would represent a break with global fair-taxation rules as applied to corporations, and represent a thinly disguised form of trade war.

“The United States is Europe’s single most important trade and investment partner,” the finance ministers wrote. “It is important that the U.S. government’s rights over domestic tax policy be exercised in a way that adheres with international obligations to which it has signed-up. The inclusion of certain less conventional international tax provisions could contravene the US’s double taxation treaties and may risk having a major distortive impact on international trade.”

Watch video01:25

US Tax Reform – welcome gift or lump of coal?

A day later, a similar letter was sent to Mnuchin by the European Commission’s four most senior economic officials and made many of the same points.

Keeping mum

The two letters didn’t get much of an answer — at least not a public one, though quiet edits to the bills taking European concerns into account may be happening behind the scenes.

Draft federal legislation in the US always exists in at least two separate versions: one drafted in the Senate, and the other in the House of Congress. The “conference process” is the negotiation that reconciles the differing House and Senate versions of a draft bill. It’s due to come to a close this week.

Read more: Ireland to finally start reclaiming Apple back taxes

Three specific measures were brought up in the European letters.

Excise tax

First, the House bill proposed a new “excise tax” of 20 percent, levied on payments made when an American company buys goods or services from a foreign subsidiary or “affiliate” — unless the subsidiary elects to treat the payments as income in the US.

The European finance ministers argued that this measure would break WTO rules because it levies a tax only on foreign goods and services, not on the equivalent domestically produced goods and services. They said it also amounts to “double taxation,” because it would effectively tax the profits of non-US-resident companies — after they already paid taxes on those same profits in their home countries.

Read moreParadise Papers: Apple shifted billions offshore to avoid tax

“Bearing in mind that almost half of transatlantic trade is intra-company trade, this risks seriously hampering genuine trade and investment flows between our two economies,” they wrote.

Watch video01:43

EU ministers tackle tax havens

Base erosion tax

Second, the Senate bill featured a “base erosion and anti-abuse tax” (BEAT) provision. “Base erosion,” or more properly “base erosion and profit shifting” (BEPS), is a technical term referring to various accounting schemes corporations use to legally shift profits from where they’re earned, to ultra-low tax jurisdictions.

To take a common example: Multi-national corporations often establish their formal headquarters in a tax haven, assign their intellectual property to that headquarters, and then establish contracts requiring all the company’s foreign subsidiaries to pay an exorbitant “licensing fee” for the use of the corporate logo or other corporate intellectual property.

The licensing fee is set at a rate that cancels out the net revenues of the subsidiary corporations, leaving them paying no taxes in the countries where they actually produce or sell goods or services. The net effect of this “profit shifting” scheme is the erosion of the tax base of these countries — hence “base erosion.”

Base erosion  or protectionism?

The EU finance ministers said that: “Preventing base erosion is an important goal,” but “the provision appears to have the potential of being extremely harmful for the international banking and insurance business, as cross-border intra-group financial transactions would be treated as non-deductible and subject to a 10 percent tax. This may … harmfully distort international financial markets.”

The finance ministers concluded that “some of the proposed measures could constitute unfair trade practice and may discourage non-US financial institutions from operating in the US.”

Lower taxes on income from intangibles

Finally, the Europeans criticized a proposal in the Senate bill for a preferential tax regime for “foreign-derived intangible income.”

Read more: US broadside leaves WTO meeting in tatters

In essence, when US companies earn income outside the US via licensing fees, those fees would be taxed at a reduced corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent (compared to a proposed 21 percent federal tax rate for other corporate profits).

The Europeans wrote that this would subsidize exports compared with domestic consumption, and could face challenges as an illegal export subsidy under WTO rules.

Moreover, “the design of the [proposed] regime is notably different from accepted IP [intellectual property] regimes by providing a deduction for income derived from intangible assets other than patents and copyright software, such as branding, market power, and market-related intangibles.”

Legitimate concerns

Are the criticisms from Europe justified? In a word: Yes, according to the experts DW consulted.

Apple (dapd)In the future US corporate taxes would be about 25 percent. As a result, companies may decide to invest more in the US instead of Germany or France

Clemens Fuest, the president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich, said: “The European Commission’s criticism of the US tax plans is justified. The proposed measures would disrupt international trade and lead to double taxation.”

Tobias Hentze, an economist at the German Economic Institute in Cologne, told DW that he was worried the tax reforms could be the spark for the next round of a “race-to-the-bottom” of jurisdictions competing to offer corporations ever-lower tax rates.

If the reforms go through, Hentze said, the US will go from being a high-tax to a low-tax country. Until now, the tax burden on companies has been significantly higher in the US, with a tax rate of 39 percent, compared to 30 in Germany or 34 in France.

America First, again

The US also proposes to play unfairly by taxing profits that have already been taxed in Europe, Hentze said, concluding: “The underlying message to multinational companies is: If you produce here in the US, you will be spared the double taxation.”

Read more: Opinion: Donald Trump’s policies have fed China’s rise as world power

The reform package provides further incentives for companies, too. With the creation of a so-called patent box, US legislators want to incentivize companies like Apple to register their patents and trademarks in the US, by means of a preferential tax rate on profits generated (12.5 percent). A fair tax regime, in Hentze’s view, should not offer tax rebates for certain types of profits.

“However, countries like Ireland or the Netherlands already do that too,” Hentze pointed out. “Therefore, the indignation of EU finance ministers is not very credible on this particular point.”


NASA uses Google artificial intelligence to discover eighth planet in distant solar system

Researchers from the US space agency and the tech giant have taught a computer to review massive amounts of Kepler Telescope star data. The discovery puts a distant solar system’s planetary count on par with our own.

Kepler solar system picture (picture alliance/dpa/AP Photo/NASA/W. Stenzel)

US Space Agency NASA announced on Thursday that applying artificial intelligence to Kepler telescope star data uncovered a new planet in a distant solar system, bringing the system’s total planet count to eight and making it the largest known such system outside of our own.

“Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star,” NASA said in a statement. Previously, earth’s solar system had the largest known number of planets.

Our @NASAKepler mission’s search for new planets teamed with machine learning to discover another solar system with an 8th planet that is 2,500 light-years away. Here’s what you need to know about the  discovery: 

The newly discovered planet, which has been named Kepler-90i, circles the Kepler-90 star, which is some 2,545 light-years away from Earth. One light-year equals about 9.5 trillion kilometers (5.8 trillion miles.) The rocky planet is much close to the Kepler-90 star than earth is to our sun and orbits it once every 14.4 days.

“The Kepler-90 star system is like a mini version of our solar system,” said Andrew Vanderburg, an astronomic researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who worked on the discovery.

“You have small planets inside and big planets outside, but everything is scrunched in much closer.”

NASA estimated the planet’s surface temperature to be around 426 degrees Celsius (800 Fahrenheit) and said it likely was inhospitable to life.

Read more: NASA sees possible ingredients for life on Saturn’s moon

Kepler 90: Nasa entdeckt acht Planeten in fremdem Sonnensystem ( NASA/Ames Research Center/W. Stenzel/The University of Texas at Austin/A. Vanderburg)Many solar systems that have seven or fewer planets have been discovered, but Kepler-90 is the first to have eight planets, like our own.

Google AI teams up with NASA

Kepler-90i was discovered by training a computer to scan massive amounts of star data collected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which has scanned more than 150,000 stars since its launch in 2009.

Vanderburg and Google AI software engineer Christopher Shallue taught a computer to review some 35,000 planetary signals that the Kepler telescope had collected and identify when the transmitted signals had dimmed. This indicates when a planet passes, or “transits,” in front of a star. The computer then found weak transit signals that had previously been missed and that pointed to the existence of the eighth planet, Kepler-90i.

Shallue said he became interested in applying Google’s machine learning technology to astronomy when he learned that “the Kepler mission had collected so much data that it was impossible for scientists to examine it all manually.”

“Machine learning really shines when there is too much data for humans to examine for themselves,” he added.

While machine learning has been applied before to the Kepler telescope’s data, it is believed to be the first time that the technology has unearthed a new world.

The researchers’ application also identified a sixth planet in Kepler-80, a different solar system.

Kepler 90 (picture alliance/dpa/epa/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech)The Kepler space telescope has discovered some 5,000 planets since its launch in 2009

Vanderburg and Shallue’s findings will be published in The Astronomical Journal. They intend to continue applying the machine learning technology to Kepler star data and believe more eight-planet solar systems will probably be found.

According to AP, Shallue also said Google planned to make public the code needed to do searches for planets outside of our solar system using a home computer and the publically available Kepler data.

Read more: Uber teams up with NASA for ‘flying car’ venture

cmb/se (AFP, AP)


Lawyer takes on Google, Facebook, Twitter over terror videos

A lawyer who earned his degree through a correspondence course and works for a company called 1-800-LAW-FIRM may seem like an odd choice to lead a series of potentially precedent-setting lawsuits against some of the world’s most powerful social media companies.

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But judging Keith Altman by his resume would be underestimating the 49-year-old lawyer and his quest to make tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google liable for allegedly providing “material support” to followers of terror groups who commit mass murder.

“These cases seem impossible but they can have a real impact,” Altman told Fox News. “This is about holding these companies accountable for allowing terrorists to radicalize people through social media channels.”

Altman’s ambitious effort to take on the social media giants has been dismissed by some legal experts but others say the lawsuits have potential to shake up the industry and force major changes.

A woman stands at a makeshift shrine to honor Whittier High School alumna Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the Paris terror attack last week, during a candlelight vigil in Whittier, California November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn - GF20000064180

A woman stands at a makeshift shrine to honor Whittier High School alumna Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the Paris terror attack last week, during a candlelight vigil in Whittier, California November 17, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn – GF20000064180

Starting in June 2016 while representing the family of Nohemi Gonzalez – the only American killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks – and drawing on his previous experience taking on pharmaceutical giants, Altman has filed six lawsuits to date. In the suits, Altman claims that Google, Facebook and Twitter have allowed their social media platforms to be used as a tool to recruit jihadists and that these companies have even profited from advertisements on terrorist propaganda.

Besides the Gonzalez family, Altman represents families of victims from terror attacks in Dallas, San BernardinoIstanbul, Barcelona and those killed at during the shooting at the Orlando nightclub last June.

“I filed that suit at 5 p.m. and had my first date with my now fiancee an hour later,” Altman said. “For the first half of the date, I was being bombarded with calls from every news organization you can think of to make a comment.”

At the heart of all these lawsuits is the interpretation of a provision tucked deep inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 called Section 230.

The language of Section 230 states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Companies like Facebook and YouTube have interpreted that to mean they are not liable for what their users post on their sites.

“Section 230 is a free pass to online service providers as long as they act only as a pass-through,” Mark Bartholomew, a professor at the University Of Buffalo School Of Law, told Fox News. “If you set up a place for people to talk, but don’t communicate on it yourself, then you are basically immune from prosecution.”

Section 230 of the CDA was implemented to help protect social media sites in their nascent years. But Altman and others have begun to argue that social media sites may be violating the provision with their heavily guarded algorithms and that these companies have the resources to monitor any terror activity on their platforms.

Altman – who before going into law developed litigation support tools and trial presentation software – said that computer programs can be developed that can filter certain key words like jihad and ISIS, shut down suspicious accounts and look out for accounts that send out mass follow and friend requests – all telltale signs of terror propaganda.

“Give me a weekend and I could write programs that do all of these things and more,” he said. “So how can these guys say with a straight face that they can’t do it?”

A spokesperson for Facebook told Fox News that the social media site does not allow any terrorist activity on its website.

“We are committed to providing a service where people feel safe when using Facebook,” the spokesperson said in an email. “Our Community Standards make clear that there is no place on Facebook for groups that engage in terrorist activity or for content that expresses support for such activity, and we take swift action to remove this content when it’s reported to us.”

A representatives from Twitter told Fox News the company does not comment on pending legislation. Google did not immediately reply to Fox News’ request for comment.

Altman is realistic about his and his client’s chances of succeeding in court, but says the real battle is going to take place in appellate courts and possibly even the Supreme Court.

The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017.   REUTERS/Thomas White - RC13B0FC4740

The Facebook application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White – RC13B0FC4740

“If we win just one of these cases it is going to be like an atomic bomb went off at these social media companies,” he said.

Experts in social media law don’t disagree with Altman that a victory for any his clients would create a massive sea change in the tech world, but note that it will be a tough fight to get courts to rule against Section 230.

“It sounds like a good idea, but when you get down into the weeds it get complicated,” Thaddeus Hoffmeister, a law professor at the University of Dayton and author of “Social Media in the Courtroom: A New Era for Criminal Justice?” told Fox News.

Hoffmeister says questions like how to define terrorist activity, how far does the censorship go and how do you differentiate between domestic and international terrorism are just a few of the roadblocks that Altman’s lawsuits could run into.

Whether or not any of Altman’s lawsuits are successful, experts contend that, at the very least, they are bringing light to the issue and creating a conversation that might force companies to be held more accountable.

“When he starts rattling the saber, it makes companies take action and do something about it,” Hoffmeister said. “These lawsuits add fuel to the fire.”

Courtesy: Fox News

Google Gets Rid of Infected Android Apps After Millions Download Malware

Smartphone HTC Desire
HTC Desire smartphone isolated on steel background showing Google search. Michal Rojek—Getty Images

2:14 PM ET

Millions of Android users may have malware on their phones costing them extra money after they unwittingly downloaded infected apps from the GooglePlay Store.

At least 50 apps in the store contained malware, according to researchers at Check Point, a security company. The apps have now been removed, but the malware was downloaded between 1 million and 4.2 million times before Google kicked the apps out of its store, Check Point said Thursday.

The malware — nicknamed “ExpensiveWall” — came hidden in free wallpaper, video and photo editing apps, as CNET first reported. Once people downloaded the apps, the virus would register them for paid services without their knowledge or send text messages that users would have to pay for.

ExpensiveWall is similar to a kind of malware that McAfee found on Google Play in January. The whole “malware family” has now been downloaded between 5.9 million and 21.1 million times, according to Check Point.

Google Play has built-in anti-malware protections, but the apps in question got past those because the malware was “packed,” an advance hiding technique, according to Check Point.

Once Check Point told Google about its findings on Aug. 7, the tech giant acted quickly to remove the apps. But a few days later, malware again infected another 5,000 devices, Check Point said, before it was removed a second time.

“We’ve removed these apps from Play and always appreciate the research community’s efforts to help keep the Android ecosystem safe,” a Google spokesman said in a statement.

If users still have any of the infected apps on their phone, though, the malware is still there, so the apps need to be removed manually.

Courtesy, TIME

Google employee’s anti-diversity manifesto prompts torrent of responses, sparks wider debate

Christopher Carbone

An anonymous note accusing Google of embracing diversity while chilling intellectual freedom has unleashed a flood of divergent opinions and proves not everyone inside the tech giant toes the company line.

The 10-page memo, written by a male engineer and widely shared internally, was eventually leaked to Gizmodo. In it, the author slams the tech giant’s “left bias” for having created a “politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence.”

The engineer, who has not been identified publicly, argues that gender disparities in Google’s workforce can be explained by biological differences between men and women. The memo asserts Google should replace its existing diversity efforts with policies to allow for more “ideological diversity.”

In a recent annual report the company made public, 69% of Google’s employees were revealed as male and 55% of its employees were white.

Reaction to the memo, pro and con, has been vehement.

“From what I’ve seen it’s been a mix of women saying, ‘This is terrible and it’s been distracting me from my work and it shouldn’t be allowed;’ Men and women saying ‘this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;’ and men saying ‘This is so brave, I agree,’” one current Google employee told Motherboard.

The company’s VP for Diversity, Integrity and Governance, Danielle Brown, swiftly rebuked the anonymous engineer’s memo:

“Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”

According to Motherboard, some employees wrote messages of support for the memo’s author, including this one:

“The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ which is essentially a pipeline from Women’s and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company,” another comment in the thread said.

The company’s diversity chief also addressed Google’s perceived lack of ideological diversity:

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown wrote. “Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”

The memo also led a range of current and former tech employees to tweet, pen their own essays and call out the engineer who wrote it.

Christopher Carbone is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.

Courtesy, Fox News

China’s internet crackdown reaches new level of restriction

Foreign VPNs have been removed from China’s Apple stores, WhatsApp messages are being filtered and a massive censorship campaign scrubbed social media of Liu Xiaobo. What is happening to the Chinese web?

China Beijing - Google zensiert in China (Imago/ZUMA Press)

Beijing’s censors are busy adding more bricks to the “Great Firewall of China” – a popular term for the widespread use of online censorship in the country run by the Communist Party.

Over the weekend, Apple confirmed that it had removed foreign Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) from Apple online stores in accordance with Chinese government regulations passed in January stipulating that all VPNs in China require a government license.


Have you ever wondered if your government monitors what you do on your smartphone? If you lived in China, this would be an every-day Orwellian reality. (31.03.2017)

VPNs redirect a user’s online activity through another network and permit access to restricted web content. Without using a VPN, internet users in mainland China cannot access many foreign websites like Facebook. Critics have accused Apple of bending to pressure from the Chinese government.

“Our preliminary research indicates that all major VPN apps for iOS have been removed,” ExpressVPN, a major VPN provider in China, wrote in a statement released Saturday.

“We’re disappointed in this development, as it represents the most drastic measure the Chinese government has taken to block the use of VPNs to date, and we are troubled to see Apple aiding China’s censorship efforts,” it added.

Read: Apple deletes New York Times apps in China

“We received notice of Apple’s removal of VPN apps around 4:00 am GMT on July 29, 2017 through iTunes Connect, which is Apple’s tool for developers who have made apps available for download through the App Store,” an ExpressVPN spokesperson told DW in a written statement.

“ExpressVPN remains focused on ensuring users can continue to connect securely and reliably, no matter where they are located. Users in China can continue to stay connected to the open internet with ExpressVPN’s apps for Windows, Mac, Android, and other platforms,” the spokesperson stated.

“Those in China wishing to connect with iPhones or iPads can download the ExpressVPN iOS app from a different country’s App Store – they simply need to register an additional App Store account with a billing address in a country of their choice, with no corresponding payment method needed.”

Without the use of VPNs, most of the internet will be off-limits to China, home to the world’s largest number of internet users. Apple also recently announced it would be building a data center in China to comply with new cybersecurity laws.

The restriction on VPNs is the latest in a series of internet curtailments that have been rolled out by Beijing in only the past month. One of the most glaring cases followed the death of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo on July 13. It was widely reported that Chinese censors actively blocked any discussion of Liu on Chinese social media.

Screenshot von Citzienlab Kanada - Zensur von Liu Xiaobo auf WeChat in China ( screenshot from WeChat in Canada and China showing Liu removed from the Chinese device

Forced compliance 

The Citizen Lab, an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto,analyzed the censorship of commemorating Liu, both on the popular Chinese messaging app WeChat, and the Weibo search engine.

Their findings showed that censors are increasing the breadth of censorship, even blocking images in one-on-one and group chats for the first time, in addition to filtering text messaging.

Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Research Manager at the Citizen Lab, told DW that social media companies operating in China must follow strict content regulations.

“It’s important to understand how censorship of social media works in China. Companies are held responsible for content on their platforms and are expected to dedicate resources to ensure compliance or face penalties,” he said.

“The government effectively offloads the responsibility for content control to the private sector, creating a system of ‘self-discipline.'”

Crete-Nishihata added that research has shown that social media companies have flexibility in deciding how to implement official controls.

“This situation leaves companies in a balancing act between growing their business and attracting users, all the while staying within the lines set by the government,” he said. “Social media platforms in China generally block content through a combination of automated filters and review teams that manually inspect content.”

Watch video00:47

China goes all out censoring online reaction to Xiaobo death

Danger of dissidence

In the case of commemorating Liu Xiaobo, Citizen Lab was able to determine that censors were working in real time to filter out all mention of Liu’s name and legacy from WeChat, the most popular messaging platform in China with an estimated 889 million monthly users.

“The death of Liu marks a particularly critical moment for the Communist Party of China,” said Crete-Nishihata, pointing out that the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests grew out of a public mourning of Hu Yaobang, a former Communist Party general secretary who had been purged after falling out of favor with powerful party officials.

“Like Hu, Liu was a popular symbol of political reform and freedom, and his death could potentially rally the public to mourn or cause embarrassment to the authorities,” added the expert.

“While it is not known what specific directives may have been sent down from the government, given the high sensitivity of Liu’s death, it is likely companies received instructions on how to handle it or may have proactively sought out official guidance.”

Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will return to haunt it at home 

Photo published for Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will…

Apple’s capitulation to China’s VPN crack-down will…

Yesterday Apple removed all major VPN apps from its App Store in the country. These VPNs aided internet users there to get around the government’s vast system of censorship and access uncensored…

No app is safe

Shortly after commemoration of Liu’s passingwas scrubbed from the Chinese web, WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, experienced disruptions in service for the first time. Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009, but WhatsApp has been able to function in the country. But on July 18, it was reported that WhatsApp users in China could no longer receive photos and videos. Text messages were still getting through.

Experts told the Associated Press that it appeared China was blanket blocking all video and photo content because they could not selectively block content as they did on Chinese-based WeChat.

Crete-Nishihata from Citizen Lab said that there was no evidence of WhatsApp cooperating with the Chinese government for content filtering. “WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, meaning that messages are only readable to the users in a conversation,” said the expert. “WhatsApp services being disrupted in China appears to have been done by WhatsApp servers being blocked by China’s national web filtering system.”

Read:Winnie-the-Pooh banned in China for resembling the president

Clean-up before the congress

Experts also point to the upcoming 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress as a reason behind Beijing’s ramped-up control of online information and communication.

For example, before and during the last party congress in 2012, there was an increase in online censorship, including a blockade on Google and Western media websites.

“The upcoming party congress is another example of an event that is sensitive to the Communist Party of China,” said Crete-Nishihata. “It is likely that in the lead up to the party congress we will see tightened restrictions and blocking of content related to party leaders, especially Xi Jinping and anything that may be perceived as harming his reputation.”




  • Date 01.08.2017
  • Author Wesley Rahn
  • Related Subjects FacebookGoogleAsiaPeople’s Republic of China
  • Keywords Asia, China, China censorship, Social Media, WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Google, Chinese Communist Party Congress, Liu Xiaobo
  • Courtesy: DW
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