Australia PM Morrison Loses Control of WeChat Chinese Account as Election Looms
Monday January 24, 2022. 03:38 PM , from Slashdot
A little-known Chinese technology company that took over a WeChat social media account set up for Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday it wanted to buy an account with a large fanbase in Australia, and was unaware it was his. From a report: Australian politicians said Morrison's office lost access to the account on the platform, owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, several months ago. The politicians claimed the move represented censorship amid growing diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing with a national election to be held in Australia by May. The account, which bore Morrison's photograph and posted information on his policies in Mandarin targeted at Australian voters of Chinese ethnic origin, had 76,000 followers.
The account was renamed 'Australia China New Life' in January by its new Chinese owner, Fuzhou 985 Technology, based in Fujian province, which notified followers the account would instead promote Chinese life in Australia. An employee from Fuzhou 985 Technology, who only gave his surname as Huang, told Reuters by telephone was not aware the account was previously connected to Morrison. He said the transfer of ownership was conducted with a Chinese male national living in Fuzhou, whose identity he declined to disclose. 'We thought this account had a large fanbase, so we decided to buy it,' said Huang, adding that the company was looking for an account whose target audience was the Chinese community in Australia. He declined to say how much his company had paid to take over the account.
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