Twitter has triggered discussions as it reportedly reduced the coverage of anti-government protests in China with a flood of nuisance content which was said to be the authorities’ attempts to filter images of the demonstrations.
A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw that Twitter searches for the for the Covid-19-related demonstrations in China are showing multiple spam posts and indecent content, including videos of a woman in tight top dancing and promoting online gambling for World Cup matches.
Starting from last week, top searches in Chinese for major protest locations including Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou, resulted in multiple images of women clad in indecent poses with fragmented phrases, according to CNN.
However, limited flow of news can still be seen on the social platform. An official post of The Great Translation Movement last Friday showed that the fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang along with the last screams of the residents who were burned to death, while other residents could only stand by the window to watch, as everyone was locked at home.
Social monitoring firm CARMA saw a large number of discussions related to the sudden increase of spam posts on Twitter over the past 24 hours that makes it difficult to discover content about the protests across mainland China. "The related mentions are largely negative (75.1%). Several netizens are hoping that Elon Musk will address this free speech issue. It’s also worth noting that majority of the mentions came from netizens in the United States," said Charles Cheung, GM of CARMA.
MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Twitter for a statement.
This comes after a deadly fire in China’s Xinjiang province killed at least 10 people with reports emerging around the incapability of residents to go out and rescue victims under the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the country.
Over the past few weeks, frustrations of Chinese citizens over the ongoing Covid restrictions have accumulated and resulted into mass gatherings, conflicts between protesters and police, and anti-government chants in key cities and across dozens of university campuses.
Separately, students of University of Hong Kong (HKU) also gathered to mourn those killed in the fire in Urumqi, China, according to HKFP. Undergrad, a student publication, said in on Facebook that they were mainland students who had leaflets concerning the Xinjiang deaths.