Twitter says sorry for Tiananmen tweet block

  • China
  • Tuesday, 4 Jun 2019

SHANGHAI: Twitter Inc has apologised 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” were 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 June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tianan­men Square has been followed in China by tighter censorship.

Tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy. — Reuters