According to the 2019 Freedom on the Net report by the US-based democracy and human rights monitor Freedom House, the Chinese government has been the world’s worst abuser of the internet for the fourth consecutive year.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg raising concern over China’s way to regulate internet services said that he is worried about how other countries are trying to imitate that model which is “really dangerous”. Talking to European Union Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton recently, as cited by CNBC, Zuckerberg said that “there is a model coming out of countries like China that tend to have very different values than Western countries that are more democratic.” According to the 2019 Freedom on the Net report by the US-based democracy and human rights monitor Freedom House, the Chinese government has been the world’s worst abuser of the internet for the fourth consecutive year.
Urging Western nations to counter this approach by China, Zuckerberg called for a ‘democratic alternative’. He suggested, “having a clear framework that comes out of Western democratic countries and that can become a standard around the world.” Even with respect to the news around Coronavirus, the country started censoring online discussions as early as December 31 — weeks before it acknowledged the scope of the disease, PTI cited a report by the researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab.
“Unknown Wuhan pneumonia” and “Wuhan Health Commission” were some of the general terms that were looked as taboo in the early days of Covid spread by China, the report said. Moreover, between December end and mid-February, Citizen Lab found over 500 blocked keywords and phrases on WeChat – the social messaging app that has more than one billion monthly active users – along with on live-streaming platform YY.
“I think there are big questions around balancing things like free expression and safety,” Zuckerberg said. However, “I don’t think that there’s a question that there’s going to be regulation. I think the question is, whose framework is going to win around the world?” he added. Facebook has started labelling Covid-related misinformation as fake on its platform. As a result, 95 per cent of instances where users see such content labelled as fake, they don’t click on it, according to Zuckerberg.