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Rubio Throttles Twitter over Coddling China -- and He Gets an Apology

June 4, 2019 - 7:30am
Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio

Twitter apologized Saturday for blocking accounts critical of China after Sen. Marco Rubio condemned the social media company’s suspension of Chinese activists’ Twitter accounts ahead of Tiananmen Square’s 30th anniversary.

Here's how the press reports came in afterward:

“Twitter apologized Saturday for suspending a number of accounts critical of China hours after Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the social-media company was acting as a ‘censor’ for the Chinese government.” (Steven T. Dennis, Twitter Apologizes After Rubio Calls Company 'Censor' for China, Bloomberg, 6/1/2019)

“The suspension of the accounts, both inside and outside China, elicited criticism from US Senator Marco Rubio, who tweeted the company was silencing voices on behalf of the Chinese government. ‘Twitter has apparently suspended a large number accounts that are critical of #China including accounts of people outside of China. Twitter has become a Chinese govt censor,’ he said.” (Victoria Cavaliere, Twitter apologizes for suspending accounts critical of China, CNN Business, 5/1/2019)

“Twitter’s statement follows a sharp reaction from its users over the suspensions, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who in a tweet accused Twitter of becoming ‘a Chinese (government) censor’.” (Twitter apologizes for blocked China accounts ahead of Tiananmen anniversary, Reuters, Andrew Galbraith, 5/2/2019)

“US Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that the platform had become a ‘Chinese govt censor’.” (AFP, Twitter apologizes after suspending accounts critical of China ahead of Tiananmen Massacre anniversary, Hong Kong Free Press, 5/3/2019)

“However, some see the timing of this move as being too much of a coincidence and have accused Twitter of following in the footsteps of China’s social media networks, which commemorate June 4th each year by suspending certain features for ‘maintenance,’ taking down accounts, and tightening up censorship of comments to an absurd degree. After the news broke on Twitter, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Congress’s leading China-basher, even went so far as to accuse the social media company of becoming a ‘Chinese government censor.’” (Tautvile Daugelaite, Twitter says suspending Chinese activists’ accounts ahead of Tiananmen anniversary was an accident, Shanghaiist, 5/3/2019)

“The violent suppression of the demonstration also led to a tightening of censorship laws across the country, with the Chinese Communist Party taking strict measures to forbid any discussion of the pro-democracy movement. Viewed through this lens, the timing of the ban has raised fresh censorship worries. The suspension provoked a series of strong reactions, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who in a tweet accused Twitter of becoming ‘a Chinese (government) censor.’” (Ravie Lakshmanan, Twitter ‘accidentally’ blocked accounts of China dissidents ahead of Tiananmen anniversary, The Next Web, 5/3/2019)

“Websites like Twitter have also been ‘cleaning’ their user base lately, and according to the Senator of Florida, Marco Rubio, they have been banning people who were critical of Beijing’s stance. Twitter denied any puppet string pulling going on, and called the recent user bans part of their ‘routine action.’” (Bill Toulas, China Censors the Internet as Tiananmen Anniversary Approaches, Tech Nadu, 5/3/2019)

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