[Invited Talk] Censored Contagion: How Information on the Coronavirus is Managed on Chinese Social Media
- Topic : [Invited Talk] Censored Contagion: How Information on the Coronavirus is Managed on Chinese Social Media
- Speaker: Mr. Masashi Nishihata (University of Toronto)
- Date: Friday, March 13th, 2020
- Time: 3:50 pm - 5:00 pm
- Venue: 台灣大學德田館103 / 台北市羅斯福路四段1號
In this talk I will present new research on how Chinese social platforms censor content related to the COVID-19 outbreak and situate these findings as part of an ongoing research project on information control in China. Through the COVID-19 case study this talk provides an overview of different technical implementations of censorship and methods for documenting it. The case study focuses on two platforms YY (a Chinese live streaming platform) and WeChat (the most popular chat application in China). Our findings show that censorship on YY started at early stages of the outbreak on December 31, a day after doctors (including the late Dr. Li Wenliang) tried to warn the public about a new unknown form of pneumonia that was burning through wards of their hospitals in Wuhan. WeChat broadly censored coronavirus-related content including criticism of government, rumours and speculation, references to Dr. Li Wenliang, and general factual information on the virus.
Masashi Nishihata is Associate Director at the Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. His research focuses on information controls and their impact on human rights. Recent work and collaborations include investigations of targeted malware operations against civil society groups and journalists, and analysis of censorship on social media applications in China.