China appeals for freedom of speech after Twitter & Facebook removed accounts spreading disinformation

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson defended the right to express an opinion.

Sulaiman Daud | August 21, 2019, 02:40 AM

The Chinese government has slammed the efforts by Silicon Valley tech companies to limit disinformation, in what it views is an attack on free speech.

A spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, told a daily news briefing that overseas Chinese and students had the right to express their opinions, according to Reuters.

Geng said: "What is happening in Hong Kong, and what the truth is, people will naturally have their own judgment. Why is it that China’s official media’s presentation is surely negative or wrong?"

Facebook and Twitter against disinformation

Tech giants Twitter and and Facebook announced on Aug. 20 that it would take steps to halt the "state-backed" disinformation campaign taking place in Hong Kong.

In a blog post, Twitter said it would suspend 936 accounts that were deliberately and specifically attempting to sow political discord in Hong Kong.

Facebook also said it removed seven pages, three groups and five accounts, and their investigations revealed links to the Chinese government.

However, Geng said that official Chinese media used foreign social media platforms to communicate with people around the world, inform them of Chinese policies, and to "tell China's story".

He added: "I don’t know why certain companies or peoples’ reaction is so strong."

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