Twitter apologizes for blocked China accounts ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

In this May 28, 1989 file photo, students rest in the litter of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, as their strike for government reform enters its third week. (AP)
Updated 03 June 2019

Twitter apologizes for blocked China accounts ahead of Tiananmen anniversary

  • The approach of the 30th anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square has been accompanied in China by a tightening of censorship

SHANGHAI: Twitter Inc. has apologized for suspending accounts critical of Chinese government policy days ahead of the 30th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, after an outcry among users.
In a statement posted to the company’s Public Policy Twitter feed on Saturday, Twitter said “a number of accounts” had been suspended as part of efforts to target accounts engaging in “platform manipulation.”
“Some of these were involved in commentary about China. These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese authorities — this was a routine action on our part,” the company said.
Such actions sometimes “catch false positives or we make errors,” it added. Twitter said it was working to “ensure we overturn any errors.”
Twitter’s statement follows a sharp reaction from its users over the suspensions, including US Senator Marco Rubio, who in a tweet accused Twitter of becoming “a Chinese (government) censor.”
The approach of the 30th anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square has been accompanied in China by a tightening of censorship. Tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy.


UAE launches global tolerance initiative for youth

Updated 14 November 2019

UAE launches global tolerance initiative for youth

  • The initiative aims to create “tolerance rings” in the digital space
  • The minister unveiled a commemorative stamp issued by Emirates Post

DUBAI: A new online initiative that seeks to encourage tolerance through dialogue among youth in the UAE, the region and around the world was announced during the second day of the World Tolerance Summit in Dubai on Thursday.
The Tolerance without Borders initiative was announced by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, the UAE’s minister of tolerance, during his keynote speech.
The initiative aims to create “tolerance rings” in the digital space, giving youth a platform for peaceful dialogue that extends beyond religious, cultural, linguistic and spatial barriers.
“We hope to see the youth of the UAE at the forefront of this initiative, engaging in communication that’s based on tolerance and acceptance with their peers here at home and around the world,” said Al-Nahyan, who is also chairman of the board of trustees at the International Institute for Tolerance.
He added that the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan was the pioneer behind the UAE’s prosperity, and had built a “space for coexistence and tolerance” that has helped the country’s peaceful development.
“We’re proud that we, a country in which all human beings live, with real love and genuine tolerance, live and work together to build a future for children without fear of intolerance, hatred or discrimination … based on color, religion, sect or race,” said the minister.
He added that positive relations and tolerance between all cultures and beliefs is a pre-requisite to eradicating poverty, discrimination and disease.
“Our presence together at this World Tolerance Summit is a strong declaration that we all have a duty and a responsibility in the constant pursuit of building successful relationships and partnerships across cultural frontiers,” he said.
The minister unveiled a commemorative stamp issued by Emirates Post in collaboration with the Supreme National Committee for the Year of Tolerance.
The summit hosted more than 70 speakers and over 3,000 participants from more than 100 countries.