WeChat social media app is BANNING and censoring Chinese-American users in the US who talk about Hong Kong politics
- Users say they’ve been banned from the app in recent months
- WeChat is one of China’s biggest platforms with 1 billion monthly users
- This is an escalation from China who is more lenient on foreign users
- Users have begun to petition the US government to intervene
China is continuing to censor political speech about Hong Kong, this time on messaging and social media app WeChat which boasts 1 billion active monthly users.
According to a report from The Verge, Chinese-Americans living in the United States say posts about political discord in Hong Kong sent via WeChat, a China headquartered company, have been censored with some users being banned outright.
The move marks an escalation in censorship from China-based technology companies which have typically been less restrictive of users living in other countries – especially those in the western world, outside its influence.
Owners of WeChat, TenCent, have been at the center of multiple censorship scandals including one regarding streaming rights to the NBA
Accounts of users in China are often censored and deactivated by the government – an occurrence that is both routine and legal under the country’s laws.
As noted by The Verge, WeChat operates as an everything-platform in China, grouping together messaging, social media, and even mobile payments, and has become a crucial tool for Chinese-Americans to stay in touch with friends, family, and loved ones still living in China.
As a result of recent censorship of Americans, some users have started to call on the US government to intervene.
WHAT IS WECHAT?
WeChat is one of the most popular social media sites in China.
It boasts 1 billion active monthly users and aggregates key features like messaging, social media, and mobile payments.
The app is owned by China’s largest company, Tencent, which owns myriad internet services and products.
The Verge reports that one user affected by WeChat’s censorship has started a petition on Whitehouse.gov, calling on US officials to stand up to Tencent, the largest Chinese company and owner of WeChat.
The petition has a little more than 2,280 online signatures as of time of publication.
WeChat isn’t the only China-based platform that has come under scrutiny for censorship in recent months.
E-sports star Ng ‘Blitzchung’ Wai Chung was reprimanded – suspended and kept from redeeming prize money – by game developer Blizzard for speaking out in support of protesters in Hong Kong.
Despite censorship, Democratic supporters in Hong Kong scored a major win this week in local elections.