A professor and expert in Asian politics said Twitter temporarily restricted her account after she mocked the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and President Xi Jinping last week, according to the Associated Press.
Anne-Marie Brady, a professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, said tweets mocking the CCP’s 100th Anniversary were taken down and her account was restricted over the weekend, the AP reported. While her account was restricted, Twitter users were shown a prompt warning of “unusual activity” before they could access her profile, freelance journalist Emanuel Stoakes tweeted.
“Some of the biggest names in social media, from @Twitter to @LinkedIn @Zoom & @Facebook , appear to be getting into a habit of silencing CCP critics,” Brady tweeted on Sunday. “Yesterday it was my turn to be censored.”
Brady is an expert on China and has been critical of the Chinese government’s attempts to spread its influence abroad, according to the AP. The two tweets that Brady alleged Twitter removed mocked how few international leaders apart from Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated China on its ruling party’s centennial.
— Professor Anne-Marie Brady (@Anne_MarieBrady) July 4, 2021
But Twitter denied that it ever took action against Brady’s tweets or restricted her account in coordination with the Chinese government.
“To set the record straight, the assertion that Twitter is in coordination with any government to suppress speech has no basis in fact whatsoever,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We advocate for a free, global and Open Internet and remain a staunch defender of freedom of expression.”
The spokesperson added that Twitter only restricts accounts when unusual activity is detected. Twitter does so while it verifies the owner of the account in question, requiring them to provide an email address or phone number, according to the company’s policies page.
“Alternative headline: ‘Xi: its my Party and I’ll cry if I want to,’” Brady said in one of the tweets that were allegedly taken down.
After Twitter restricted her account, Brady tweeted that the massive social media platform had forgotten “they don’t work for Xi Jinping.” Her account was fully restored on Monday, the Twitter spokesperson told the DCNF.
Edward Lucas, a British journalist noted that Brady is one of the world’s top “China-watchers” and that her account’s restriction was an example of how “the CCP exerts its control over our political systems.”
Twitter isn’t the only Big Tech company that has been accused of censoring content critical of China. Microsoft, Bing and LinkedIn recently appeared to restrict content about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.
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