Twitter needs to update its abuse policies for a post-pandemic Chinese Communist Party

January 5, 2022

By John Ransom

Twitter rules about abuse are clear: “You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.

Yet China, under the Chinese Communist Party, routinely uses Twitter and other social media outlets to track, hunt harass, detain and jail Chinese citizens at home and overseas as well as foreigners according to reports from the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The Chinese government, which has built an extensive digital infrastructure and security apparatus to control dissent on its own platforms, is going to even greater lengths to extend its internet dragnet to unmask and silence those who criticize the country on Twitter, Facebook and other international social media,” said the New York Times.

The state in this case is acting as a corporate entity, acting with bad faith and ill-will towards members of the Twitter community and making the people in the community unsafe.

In fact, Twitter likely can’t point to even one case where it banned an account on the platform that had as much potential to “harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice,” as well as detain, arrest, jail and even murder their victims as the Chinese government that sponsors accounts on Twitter does.

The Washington Post claims that China uses social media, including Twitter, to compile comprehensive data about adversaries including “individual academics, politicians and journalists in other countries.

But sometimes the CCP is much more punitive.

More than 50 people have been jailed in past three years in an escalation of Communist Party assault on use of foreign social media,” said the Wall Street Journal about the attempt to silence those in China who use Twitter and other foreign social networks.

Why is Twitter so complacent about Chinese harassment made possible by Twitter?

It’s not as if it is unaware of the potential for misuse of the data it hosts.

In November, Twitter updated its media hosting policy in an attempt to protect users, especially vulnerable users.

The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities,” said Twitter explaining its new policy on censoring media images.

But Twitter seems to miss that it’s already having a disproportionate effect on those people around the world who oppose the communist regime in Beijing, activists, dissidents and members of minority communities, not just in China, but overseas as well.

With growing frequency, the authorities are harassing critics both inside and outside China, as well as threatening relatives, in an effort to get them to delete content deemed criminal,” the New York Times reported. One video recording, provided by a Chinese student living in Australia, showed how the police in her hometown had summoned her father, called her with his phone and pushed her to remove her Twitter account.

The Post says that the Chinese efforts go on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that the communists automatically collect and store Facebook and Twitter data in real time on domestic Chinese servers for analysis,” another clear violation of Twitter policy.

The collections target people by ethnic and racial origin and political affiliations, also violations of Twitter policy.

If the Twitter effort to prevent abuse of the system to prevent attempts to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice is going to mean anything, Twitter must ban the official state Chinese Twitter accounts.

It’s time for Twitter to adopt a post-pandemic normal and ban the Chinese Communist government from Twitter, because clearly their use of Twitter is meant for abuse.

Yes, banning them from Twitter won’t stop the CCP from trying to collect data from Twitter and harass their opponents, but it will deprive the Communists of the legitimacy and benefits of being on the platform.

And nothing hurts the CCP worse than depriving them of their prestige and legitimacy.


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