China have New Censorship Tools

Now, Beijing have new censorship tools. China’s already formidable internet censors have demonstrated a new strength. Authorities can now delete images sent in one-on-one chats as they’re being sent, so that the intended recipient never sees them. Activists say the new capability saw its first widespread use following the recent death of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo from liver cancer, with Beijing moving aggressively to block supporters from sharing tributes online.

In recent years, Chinese internet users have turned to sharing photos to avoid cyberpolice who use wordscreening software to filter politically charged messages. Censors initially responded by purging images from public forums and group chats, but one-on-one images are now being blocked midtransmission. “The speed is too fast for human intervention,” as quoted from Wall Street Journal suggesting that censors are using an algorithm.

The new feature will be part of Facebook’s Instant Articles program, which hosts complete stories within Facebook instead of links sending users to a separate website. Publishers have been able to make money from ads sold through Instant Articles, but some have cut back on the feature after struggling to profit from it. The move could win over publishers, many of which have increased their focus on selling subscriptions to make up for shrinking ad sales.

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