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WeChat is censoring messages that contain specific keywords
The Chinese messaging service, WeChat, is currently censoring group chats without users’ knowledge. A study by The Citizen Lab attempted to look at the extent to which some words were removed from chats, and found that some keywords caused messages to be removed from chats without the sender being alerted. Whilst the test found that within conversations between two people, only 1 of the 26,000 keywords tested was banned, group chats caused a high number of words to be ‘scrubbed’. It was reported that any reference to the Tiananmen Square protests was completely removed from the chat, as well as many other keywords. Jason Ng, a research fellow at The Citizen Lab, said that group conversations were more affected as “more than just a single person makes it riskier that it could go viral or provoke street protests”. He also speculated that the censorship was likely due to intrusion from both the government and WeChat itself.
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