What happens when a country cracks down on fake news? Ask China

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The term “fake news” should pretty much always be in quotes. “Fake news,” probably for the most part is code for news that reflects poorly on the powers that be. Fighting “fake news” isn’t about fighting conjured rumors or false stories. It’s about controlling the conversation.

(From PC World)

In the U.S., it’s private citizens and internet companies that are questioning the role of fake news while acknowledging freedom of speech. In China, the government itself is arresting people as part of its concerted effort to maintain control over all corners of the internet.

“Acknowledging” freedom of speech. Hmmm. Weird word to use first off. Secondly I think that many pushing the “fake news” bit resent freedom of speech.  And the “fake news” meme isn’t being driven by private citizens or companies either. It is being driven by the government pretty clearly. Or at least part of the government. The part that resents that “deplorables” have a voice now. Just like the Chinese powers that be hate their “deplorables.”

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Let’s remember that the clampdown from the Chinese came after people started speaking up about the corruption of leaders. As we reported:

“When he took over the State Internet Information Office, one of Mr. Lu’s first challenges was reining in China’s freewheeling social media. He held a series of well-publicized dinners at fancy Beijing restaurants with some of China’s most well-known social media icons. Known as the Big V’s, for verified account, some had millions of online followers and had already shown how they could turn sensitive subjects — like forced relocations and environmental problems — into national debates that upset the Communist Party.”

(Continued from PC World)

So Chinese censors have axed false reports about a celebrity’s death or ways to cure cancer. On the other hand, they’ve also targeted the truth, banning discussion of subjects the government would rather citizens didn’t talk about, he said.

Censors have been found scrubbing social media posts that mention the death of the Chinese Communist Party or freedom of the press, according to Ng’s research.

China claims this is necessary for societal order, and it’s also resulted in the blocking of major U.S. Internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google. Domestic social media services — which routinely censor posts critical of the government — have taken their place.

As we said when we posted on China’s social media censorship in 2014, “other countries are taking notes.” They sure were.

“Fake news” censorship is about REAL NEWS censorship. Informed people understand this and informed people must fight the effort to lock down communication in the Land of the Free.

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