Twitter says it locked account of China’s US embassy over Xinjiang-related tweet

Platform Industry News: Twitter

Twitter has locked the account of China’s US embassy for a tweet that defended China’s policies in the Xinjiang region, which the US social media platform said violated its policy against “dehumanization”.

The Chinese Embassy account, @ChineseEmbinUS, posted a tweet this month that said that Uighur women were no longer “baby making machines,” citing a study reported by state-backed newspaper China Daily.

The tweet was removed by Twitter and replaced by a label stating that it was no longer available. Although Twitter hides tweets that violate its policies, it requires account owners to manually delete such posts. The Chinese embassy’s account has not posted any new tweets since January the 9th.

Twitter’s suspension of the embassy’s account came a day after the Trump administration, in its final hours, accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang, a finding endorsed by the incoming Biden administration.

The Biden administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Twitter’s move.

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“We’ve taken action on the Tweet you referenced for violating our policy against dehumanization, where it states: We prohibit the dehumanization of a group of people based on their religion, caste, age, disability, serious disease, national origin, race, or ethnicity,” a Twitter spokesperson said on Thursday.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a emailed request for comment. Twitter is blocked in China but is an increasingly favoured platform by China’s diplomats and state media.

China has repeatedly rejected accusations of abuse in its Xinjiang region, where a United Nations panel has said at least one million Uighurs and other Muslim groups had been detained in camps.

Last year, a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank accused China of using forced sterilization, forced abortion and coercive family planning against minority Muslims. The Chinese foreign ministry said the allegations were groundless and false.

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Twitter’s move also follows the removal of the account of former US president Trump, which had 88 million followers, citing the risk of violence after his supporters, along with left-wing radicals stormed the US Capitol building this month.

Twitter had locked Trump’s account, asking for deletion of some tweets, before restoring it and then removing it altogether after the former president violated the platform’s policies again.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Brenda Goh. Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh. Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Gerry Doyle.

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