Just what is going down with Twitter? Do their executives have an increasing interest in securing an operation in China? Are the founding principles of freedom of speech and democratic values still held in esteem by Twitter’s management? Such questions have been circulating among our colleagues at @tibettruth, who inform us that for over a week now threads related to ‘Tibet’ and ‘free Tibet’on Twitter have come under attack by political spammers from China. It seems this assault involves a number of automated accounts which are generating spam tweets almost every minute on a 24/7 basis, resulting in a mass occupation in what seems an effort to silence and nullify any critical voices or those championing Tibet’s true cause.
This development is of course no accident.The timing in particular is of interest, coinciding with international outrage at China’s killing of Tibetan protesters, which was being discussed widely on Twitter, which was also serving as a vital conduit for information on China’s vicious attacks upon unarmed Tibetan protesters. The decision by China’s Ministry of Propaganda to effectively censor and undermine such information on Twitter may also be in response to the tremendous work carried out by Tibet activist and supporters, such as those of @tibettruth, who have been hugely active in ensuring the truth is being reported on Tibet and its struggle for independence.
What’s less clear however is the apparent reluctance of Twitter to take any action against this obvious attack by China, which is clearly a violation of Twitter’s own rules regarding spamming.We understand that several emails and direct appeals have been made to the Executives at Twitter, along with clear evidence of what’s going on, and account names of those generating such political spam. Yet for whatever reason Dick Costolo, Chief Exec of Twitter, and his colleagues at Support, have not even had the decency to reply, this curious silence is not helping to address the questions which are now being asked about Twitter and its position with respect to China.